Friday, October 22, 2010

Hurdy gurdy

I really should know what kind of plant this is; these were planted in our garden just last year. Whatever it is, it saves its flower show for fall, even though to me it has the look of a spring flower. I treasure it for its willingness to be brave and bold, yet tender, in the face of cold.

Today is the first time this season that I've had to put a touch of heat on in the house during the day. Oh, the heat has been coming on from time to time at night, but during the daylight hours it's been warm enough until now.

I find myself with that leaning-over-the-precipice feeling -- that one more step and then the SWOOOP toward Thanksgiving and Christmas and all will begin. The downhill, can't stop running madly out of control dash that is the marathon ahead. I don't necessarily mean it in a bad way; there are certainly things about the holidays that I treasure and revel in. More in just that sense of time going faster and faster and faster each year; the sense that *catching up* just isn't in the cards. That's ok. I feel we're better prepared than in the past to put our own measures of sanity around it all.

Meanwhile, I finally tidied up, got the Halloween decorations up, and made it feel appropriately festive around here. Pumpkins await carving, a costume is ready for Dean, candy is purchased and ready to be handed out.

My childhood memories of Halloween are glorious. This is my brother Chris, on the left -- so typical for our family that he was the only one of his friends with a homemade costume. My mom did excel in the making of Halloween costumes, and we were broad-minded in our ideas of what to be. You may not recognize the form, but Chris (or Clipper, as he was known back then) is an organ grinder -- and his rendition is perfect. Do you see the monkey in his arm, and the wind-up organ he wears around his neck? When we were young, we could go to the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago and almost always see an organ grinder -- always a man, always with a swarthy, gypsy look to him (in the very best sense) with a handlebar moustache and a monkey. You could give your pennies to the monkey and he'd give them a bite to make sure they were real (and not food) and then hop up to deliver them to the organ grinder.

Although I will admit that we got in the habit of calling them monkey grinders as kids -- not for any morbid reason but just that once one of us got the name wrong and the new name stuck (took me years to figure out why my parents thought it was so funny and awful that we called them that).

Anyway, I don't ever remember a parent along for trick-or-treating with any kids. We were instead set loose upon the neighborhoods, and would travel in packs for hours and hours collecting candy. I was the ward of my older siblings my first year or two out, but then from then on went with my own group of friends to enjoy a child's nearly favorite night of the year (with only Christmas competing for the honors).


Natalie said...

You've seen a real monkey grinder?!
I love this post.
The SWOOP... oh gosh, I feel it too.

orchidlover said...

Love the post.
Even though we don't do Thanksgiving over here I know the feeling of the Swoop after Halloween.
By the way I'm pretty sure the flower is a Japanese Anemone. You can get them in a bright pink aswell and they will quite happily spread all over your yard.

Love and hugs Gina xxx