Halloween holds a special place in memories

Published 11:11 pm Friday, October 29, 2010

Having grown up in a time when youngun’s believed in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman and Jack Frost, I’m a fan of Halloween.

Just when somebody decided that celebrating Halloween with a sheet thrown over your head or a black pointed hat on your head made you a devil worshiper, I’m not sure.

But I am sure that I never made that connection. I just enjoyed the fun of dressing up and being something I was not.

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I was a shy little girl who would have no more thought about walking across a stage in front of a bunch of folks than I would have thought of cutting my tongue out and hanging it on a fence post.

But, when I became a Halloween hobo all of the shyness just went right out of soles of my feet.

I had always dreamed of putting all my earthly belongings in a sack and traipsing off to see the big wide world. So, when I was about 10 years old, I dressed myself up in Daddy’s work pants and an old flannel shirt and stuffed myself with a pillow and Mama’s dishrags. I put on Daddy’s old hunting boots and his straw hat and stuck a pipe in my mouth. I put some rags in a bandana and tied it to the end of a stick and entered the Halloween costume contest at the school.

I didn’t mind one bit walking across the stage in front of all those folks. I wasn’t little knock-kneed, frizzy-headed Margaret Jane Caldwell. I was Hobo John and I had just hopped off the train that ran along the railroad tracks in the pasture across from our house.

Now, I don’t know what prize I won that night. It might have been the most original costume, the funniest or the most pitiful. But I know how proud I was standing there on the stage with a brand new, one-dollar bill prize in my hand.

When you accomplish something that you never thought you could, never in a million years, it’s the best feeling in the world.

With the exception of having accomplished the feats of birthing babies and hiking to the top of the Ute Trail, that was the proudest moment of my life.

So, Halloween holds a special place in my memories and neither the devil nor his place of abode have anything to do with it.

I’m all for the fun of Halloween, I don’t think that young’uns should grow up without the chance to sit at their granny’s knees and hear her recite James Whitcomb Riley’s “Little Orphant Annie.”

So here it is. as best I can remember it.

Little Orphant Annie’s come to our house to stay

To wash the cups and saucers and brush the crumbs away.

To shoo the chickens off the porch

To mop the floor and sweep.

To make the fire and bake the bread and earn her board and keep.

And, all us other chil’un when the supper things are done

We sit around the fire and have the mostest fun

Listening to the tales that Annie tells about

Cause the goblins’ll get ya if you don’t watch out.

Once there was a little boy who wouldn’t say his prayers

And, when he went to bed that night a way up the stairs

His daddy heard him holler and his mama heard him bawl

And when they turned the covers back, he was nowhere at all.

They looked for him in the attic and on the roof no less

And up the chimney flue and everywhere I guess

But all they ever found was his pants around about

Cause the goblins’ll get ya if you don’t watch out.

There was once a little girl that would always laugh and grin

And make fun of everyone even her blood and kin

And, once when company came over and old folks was there

She mocked them and shocked them and said she didn’t care.

And just as she turned to run and hide,

There were two great big spooky things standing by her side.

They snatched her through the ceiling before she knew what she was about.

Cause the goblins’ll get ya if you don’t watch out.

Little Orphant Annie said when the blaze is blue

And, the lamp-wick sputters and the wind goes “woo”

And you hear the crickets quit and the moon is gray

And the lightning bugs and dew is all squenched away

You’d better mind your parents and your teachers fond and dear

And cherish those who love you and dry the orphant’s tear

Look after the poor and needy cause they’re all about

Cause the goblins’ll get ya if you don’t watch out.

Happy Halloween!

Jaine Treadwell is features editor of The Messenger. She can be reached at jaine.treadwell@troymessenger.com