Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween of Old

It took me longer than most kids to understand the whole point of Halloween.

My mom says that at first, I went door to door trying to give candy to the people who answered. What a strange idea this must seem to kids - getting sweets from people you've never met, looking up at them wide-eyed as they put a big bowl of sweets in your face just for being somewhat adorable. (Or just for being there, depending on the costume.)

Every year, Mom drove us - my sisters and I - way out in the country for Halloween. We'd visit my grandparents, showing off our fun new designs that would become dress-up clothes for a short time. Grandma always had a Ziploc bag of treats waiting for us. Then we would clamber back into the car, driving even farther away from the big city to reach our great-grandparents.

They were about as Norwegian as an old farming couple can get. I never noticed that the house seemed kind of old, or that wood heat was becoming quite obsolete. After all, Grandma and Grandpa had a wood stove, too, and all I saw was a big campfire indoors.

Great-Grandma was always thrilled to see us. She would coo over our costumes, and we'd stay and chat with the greats for quite some time - after all, it was a long drive to get out there. Often, it was already dark when we arrived, and I thrilled at defying the odds of bedtime. In the rural darkness, the whole world was incredibly late for bed, and I felt like part of the wilds around me (even if the dark woods were still kind of creepy).

Before leaving, Great-Grandma would load us up. No matter the size of our candy buckets, we always needed shopping bags to carry our goodies home. I don't believe she ever gave us candy - we got something better. Enough tart apples to make two whole pies. A mound of homemade Norwegian lefse. And a huge bag of freshly fried doughnuts, as dessert in our lunch boxes for a week, at least.

It's no wonder that I'd still rather have lefse than pie in the fall, if I had to choose. Luckily, I don't.

1 comment:

  1. Those were the days! I still remember you giving candy from your treat bag to the trick or treaters who came to the door. Generous heart. Always. Love you. I miss your great grandma and grandpa too. They were wonderful people.


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