The human brain is an amazing thing. I mean people can behave so stupidly and I’m no exception – for instance the other day I scraped my parents’ van with my own for no apparent reason and it wasn’t even a tricky parking scenario – but no matter how dumb any of us are there is a hugely primal, instinctual core in our organ that can spring into action at any moment it’s needed. Like last night at 2:32 AM when my son woke up and vomited in the bed I immediately registered he was puking, I dragged his half-sleeping body away from the freshly-washed bedding, and called out to wake up Ralph while simultaneously thinking, This is only the second time in his life Nels has vomited. I wonder if, like last time, he will do it just ONCE and get it over with? P.S. that’s exactly what he did.
I spent the night doing laundry (while Ralph and Nels took a sleepy and sweet bath together) and most of today as well. This morning Nels called Grandpa and really gave him a blow-by-blow, feeling a small sense of celebrity in his accomplishment of the night. He was quite grave, “That candy made me sick.” No regrets though, I can tell.
Because we had simply the most lovely time trick-or-treating last night. I mean it was just great. See, ever since our kids were born we’ve done the PT thing; this mostly includes a downtown costume parade (translation: stand around 45 minutes freezing your nuts, walk for five minutes parading in front of those in town not costumed) followed by an intense, hundreds-of-people downtown blowout where the “trick or treating” is reduced to a methodical, massive cattle-shuffle and kids just grab and move on, no eye-contact. There are a few neighborhoods that have traditional trick or treating, most notably an uptown strip where every house goes all-out (which as an inhabitant of that strip it always felt weirdly artificial and, I confess, sad for those who would have rather not participated). Our neighborhood (and most in town) had no “real” T-or-Ting the way we think of it.
But HQX still exists in the bubble I remember when I used to prowl our neighborhoods, literally scouring the block for those with lit porches, occasionally knocking at a refusal, and always looking for the spookiest house. This year it was so odd – and exhilarating – to experience it again and with excited, willing children. The sidewalks in HQX are their own menace more frightening than any front-yard ghoul sculpture (since no one in the Hogaclan came home with a fractured kneecap I call it good). Across the not-very-lit streets you could see other children and families flitting through the night with giggles and only when you got up close you’d discover a neighbor or friend. We got to T-or-T my own parents’ house. Then hand out candy ourselves for a while before making our way north a half mile to the best-decorated house (complete with hydraulic porch, tombstones of rock stars, and my personal favorite: a barbecue with human parts “shish kebab” and lots of blood). When we got home Harris greeted us with the trademark bushy tail and paws prouncing.
It was a very special night.
Yes, even with the puking.