Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Day 31: Trick or treat

Spider webs and pumpkins and orange twinkly lights and flickering mysterious candles and candy. Lots of candy. Hallowe'en fell on a Saturday, so the TH could get dressed for the occasion. We had quite a few trick or treaters, and our own Kurt came dressed as the Fonz and handed out the candy to the intrepid soldiers and hobos and baby bunny rabbits and the basketball team who were away from home and had nowhere to trick or treat unless they could do a quick run in Three Hlls!

I thought of my Mum a lot today, and this is why: shortly after her funeral a lady spoke to us at the post office. She said that she had met my Mum only once. The previous Hallowe'en evening this lady was taking her two small grandchildren trick or treating, and they ended up on my Mum's front step. My Mum came out and was duly terrified and very complimentary of the costumes and chatted to the two children and their grandma. She gave them candy and they melted back into the night.

And that was it. But Mum left such a great impression on the lady that chilly October night that she felt compelled to come to Mum's funeral to convey her respects and gratitude for the way Mum had made her grandchildren feel important and special.

This is how my Mum lived her life. An only child herself, she always loved children and entered enthusiastically into their schemes and imaginings. She loved playing games and got right into character with an uncharacteristic uninhibitedness that endeared her to those who were participating with her. She was a fierce competitor but hated for children to have to lose so she would bargain away her rights in order that they would succeed.

Mum created costumes for us at our school Hebron's annual birthday celebrations, part of which involved all the students dressing up in costumes and having a parade. We invariably took a prize! She worked with "her" college students in their Christmas drama and musicals, and she brought Sunday school to life for anyone privileged to sit in her classes.

And so on this last day of my month of thankfulness, I want to salute Mum, who would have loved the TH today and who would have made everyone in it, costumed or not, feel like they had an important part in the drama of the evening.

It was truly a treat to be her child at times like this. The real trick for me is developing her happy facility for passing on her joy in the occasion, her joy for life itself, on to others.

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