Like Taking Candy – Crap I Think Of While Mowing the Lawn…#24

Volume 24

(other than This Lawn Looks Like Crap)


Interesting, if not always deep, thoughts often pop into my head while I’m doing battle with my lawn. And yes, I do battle with a non-gas, non-electric, old-fashioned push mower. An actual reel mower. And my mind tends to think of some semi-interesting crap while I push along.

Welcome to Volume 24 of Crap I Think of While Mowing the Lawn.



Halloween has gotten so big that it’s almost disappeared from my neighborhood. Think about it; this might make sense.

Back in my day, I don’t remember stores built around Halloween decorations, or people decorating their houses for Halloween. I do recall little things like the occasional neighbor giving out pennies instead of candy, and UNICEF volunteers also collecting pennies and nickels for a good cause. Mischief Night was bigger back then, and the pre-teen version of me thought it was cool to get candy cigarettes.

No, I didn’t say that things were always better back in the day. One thing that was better? It seemed as if there was always someone home back then—whether we got Nestle’s Crunch bars, lollipops or pennies.

I don’t really remember wearing any good costumes or outfits back then, with perhaps, my most memorable one dressing up as a hobo (are there still hobos?) with a penciled in mustache or beard, old clothes (not much of a stretch for me) and, perhaps, a cane or a pillowcase. If there were prizes for best trick-or-treating costume in my little hood, I wouldn’t stand a chance of taking one home.

Which, frankly, is all okay with me…as I flash ahead to Halloween 2014. My six-year-old son, Benny, is on a dolphin kick, and that has become his favorite animal. This year, my talented wife Ruby took a break from making an outfit (for the Jewish dress-up holiday of Purim, she made him a killer Sponge Bob “box-tume.”) and purchased a grey dolphin get-up that buckled around him. When Benny wore it to his school’s costume ball a couple weeks ago, two things of note happened:  1. His tee-ball coach from this past spring thought he had been eaten by a shark; 2. A cute little girl from his class kept walking him around by his fluke. 

I think it was his fluke; it wasn’t his blubber.

Me, the dolphin and Dolphy’s mom did up Halloween a little more than usual this year. We threw a little party with homemade pizzas and desserts, and had eight other kids and parents over before and after trick-or-treating. The night even culminated in Benny’s first-ever non-family sleepover. All good stuff.

The actual candy-hunting process was different, though, than back in my day. For the second straight year, we parked our car at a local church who sponsors a big event they call “Trunk-or-Treat.” Perhaps, 30 or 40 cars, trucks and vans were decked out in various themes, and their owners gave out candy from their trunks. The church does a great job with it, and almost everyone there is quite gracious. The only thing that is missing is the anticipation of going to a house and seeing who is going to show up. Or, if someone is going to show up. At Trunk-or-Treat, they’ve already shown up, there are no doors to knock on, and the church supplies the candy…and hot apple cider and cookies.

Back in my neighborhood, the scene was different. Our little pack of dolphins (well, singular), superheroes and princesses had to work for their treats, actually walking a little bit and yelling “trick-or-treat.” The problem: Only about one out of every three of our neighbors was actually home and giving out candy. Of that 33 percent, it seemed that all were either right there at their front door to answer or they took about five minutes to answer the call. To generalize, they were all cheerful; there just weren’t enough of them present.

Halloween 2014 was a curious mix of school costume balls and parades, church trunks, a rare home party and phantom neighbors. But who am I to have the right perspective on this?

In the words of Benny, who has been through six or seven of these holidays, it was “the best Halloween ever.” Me? I’m totally cool with waiting 363 days till the next one.


Mower and Statesman



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