by Paul Big Bear
I really enjoy the Autumn season, the cooler nights, warm days that are not oppressively hot, and the holidays; Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years Eve. We also observe the end of Daylight Saving Time, and Veteran’s Day.
Halloween was a kid’s holiday, it was actually two nights – the 30th was Mischief Night a precursor to Halloween “Trick or Treat”. That was the night that we soaped car windows, threw kernels of horse corn at houses, rang doorbells and ran, toilet papered houses, and I hear some outhouses got tipped over. There was a day when we would wear our costumes to school and have a party then on Halloween night we again donned our costumes and went door to door with our candy collection bags, knocking on doors where we were given candy (treat) and we left the house without tricking.
Thanksgiving was a special day when, in our house, we awakened to the aroma of onions and celery sautéing as mom began preparing the Thanksgiving Turkey dinner. Football was big and dad would take my cousin Joe and I to see the Eagles and this year’s foe battle it out, then home to a house full of relatives, card tables and folding chairs, and a feast. After dinner and clean up it was pies and ice cream, special holiday shows on TV, late to bed with dreams of turkey sandwiches and turkey soup for dinner tomorrow.
Hanukkah was not celebrated in my house so I hope you have great memories if it was celebrated in your home. We celebrated Christmas beginning the day after Thanksgiving when the stores would decorate and display their Christmas offerings, the Christmas ads would begin on TV and the radio would play Christmas music. Christmas decorations and lights went up, Dad began putting his train platform up in the basement and Mom put a special calendar on one of the lamps in the living room. It was a Christmas scene with 25 little doors that would be opened one a day at a time until the last door was opened on Christmas. Christmas was an early rise to go down stairs and see the tree that Santa Claus decorated and the presents he left under the tree. The goodies he filled our stockings with, and a breakfast of eggs, bacon, potatoes, and biscuits. If we were lucky (and I don’t remember not being lucky) it was a white Christmas and all the kids would be out building snowmen, snow forts, having snowball fights, and sledding.
Finally New Year’s Eve would arrive, signaling the end of Christmas vacation. It also meant that we would have a babysitter as our parents went out to a New Year’s Eve party. They would dress up, Dad in a suit Mom in a dress with high heels, and we would eat dinner with the babysitter, we watched TV late, played games and went to bed late. Yes those were special times, what happened? Someone tampered with our candy, people committed mean sometimes violent things to kids as they went trick or treating and soon Mischief Night and Halloween were never to be the same. Thanksgiving, fell victim to Corona Virus and we couldn’t go to ball games, or family gather. Christmas, well Christmas suddenly became so commercial, “Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus” he will arrive with the ghosts, witches, and assorted goblins of Halloween at all the stores and on all the commercials, But! Make sure you greet everyone with “Happy Holidays” observing political correctness. What happened to our holiday season of togetherness and sharing? When did our childhood give way to the demands of the few who were offended because they chose to not celebrate with us?