wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Blue Moon on Halloween

No, the moon is not blue. More like blurry, because of the clouds. But it is called a blue moon (and many other names) when a full moon happens twice in one month. The moon would have to be full on the first and the thirty-first of a month, and that would make it a relatively rare occurrence.

This time, it happens to be on October 31st, Halloween.

Halloween will be different this year because of the ongoing threat of the coronavirus. Trick-or-treating is being discouraged, and to be honest, I don’t want the munchkins coming to my door, no matter how sweet their costumes are. I don’t want to be picking up the virus at the door and then passing it on to my elderly family members.

The kids can have fun in other ways, just this once, until we get the virus under control. I know that missing out on trick-or-treating is survivable because I’ve done it.

So here is my story.

When I was very young, we lived in Germany. On All Saints’ Eve (what we call Hallowed Eve – or Halloween here in North America), my mother took me by the hand and we visited the town cemetery. My grandfather, who had died of cancer at the young age of 75, was buried there. I loved my grandfather and he loved me, so there was nothing spooky about going to visit his resting place. Several other village people were also visiting the graves of loved ones, and most brought candles in coloured glass containers to place on the graves. The cemetery was neat and well kept up. With the many lights glowing on the graves, the whole place was peaceful. I remember feeling close to my beloved grandfather and in awe of the pretty lights. The hushed conversation of other visitors showed their respect for their lost loved ones.

We came to Canada soon after that, when I was six years old. The following year, on Halloween, I heard about all the kids going out trick-or-treating. This would be fun! But my enthusiasm had cold water thrown on it when my mother laid down the law and said, “No child of mine is going door to door begging for candy.”

“But it’s not like that,” I whined. No amount of fussing would change her mind. For the next four years she stuck to her guns and our family became the weird ones that didn’t believe in Halloween.

By the time I was 11, she relented. She was beginning to understand that it wasn’t about begging. My younger brother and I were allowed to go out to a few houses on the block to trick-or-treat.

On the afternoon of the 31st, the radio told of a severe windstorm that was due to hit at six p.m. We didn’t really believe it. Not a breath of wind. We put on our costumes and got our goodie bags ready. As we tried to go out the door at six o’clock, we wondered why it wouldn’t open. We pushed against it and had to get our mother to help. As soon as she opened the door, it ripped out of her hand and slammed against the side of the house. The big windstorm had hit us at exactly 6 p.m. My mother yanked us back inside lest we might blow away, and pronounced, “You can’t go out in this. It’s too dangerous.”

Fast forward to the next Halloween when I was 12. I had grown into a tall skinny girl, but inside that gangly body lived a child who had yet to experience trick-or-treating. We trooped out with our goodie bags, anticipation ratcheted up into high gear. At the first house, we called “Trick or treat.” The owner came to the door and said to me, “Getting a bit old to be doing this, aren’t you? It’s supposed to be for little kids.”

I was glad I had a mask on so he couldn’t see me fighting not to cry.

I never went trick-or-treating again, and I suppose I have a warped idea of what Halloween is about. When I see scary spiders, monsters, ghosts and vampires flitting around neglected cemeteries, it is not something I find easy to relate to. My grandfather’s cemetery was clean and cared for. It had a manicured hedge and clean gravel paths between well-tended graves. It was not a scary thing to visit him. The North American version of Halloween jarred when I compared it to my first experiences of All Saints’ Eve.

Still, customs vary, and I’ve learned to accept that Halloween is not all bad. Most people love it and they are not easily scared by the horror they conjure up to celebrate this holiday.

I don’t like horror shows. They give me nightmares. I’m a wimp. I don’t begrudge others having fun, but I find it hard to get into the creepy spirit.

A tame Halloween is fine for me. Give me the pumpkin pie and a taste of that chocolate bar from the goodie bag, but keep the spiders away from me.

If you’d like to see posts on copy-editing horrors, please visit my other blog.


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Scary Movies

Just in time for Halloween, I wanted to tell you about a movie I saw way, way back in another century, when I was a little girl. The idea of The Monolith Monsters was so scary for me that I have remembered that movie all these years. The basic plot was simple: Meteors struck the earth and when they came in contact with water, these “rocks” grew and grew until they were like giant skyscrapers that finally “lost their balance” and fell down, smashing anything in front of them and breaking into many smaller pieces of rock which then began to grow again into more skyscraper rocks, which again came crashing down.

So the rocky skyscrapers advanced, coming closer and closer to the big cities where people would certainly die from being smashed by the rocks.

When we traveled to Montana and back, we saw towers that carry high voltage power lines. They reminded me of some monstrous beings. Don’t they look like they will start walking to wherever they feel like going … carrying enough voltage to zap their way through any place they want to go? If I had more imagination I’d write a horror story about them, but even if I could, I think it I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I’m a coward when it comes to horror shows or stories. I just can’t watch them  or read or write them without having nightmares for years afterwards.

And it’s not like there is only one of these monsters. They are everywhere.

They have joined together for a more dramatic effect.

Yikes!! I’m scared. Will I be able to sleep tonight???

Oh — and the Monolith Monsters…. Do you know how they were stopped?

Some smart scientist discovered that salt stops them from growing, so it was just a matter of getting truckloads of salt to pour onto them. Whew! Just in the nick of time too!!

If you happen to know of a horror story or movie that features the power towers, please let me know. I feel as if there is a story out there about them but I can’t remember it.

Meanwhile, be careful out there. Halloween is coming.


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Who Needs Halloween Horror?

Just home from a 26-day trip, I had laundry to do. Too much to hang on the drying rack in front of the fire, and the outside clothesline was not an option in the rain. I would use the dryer.  I opened the dryer door and out fell my Halloween spook, a giant house spider, very much alive and probably a bit surprised to have been discovered. I presume that he crawled up the hose from the outside of the house and thought, “Aha! No one is home, so this is a perfect hangout for me.”

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These spiders look almost identical to the hobo spider which can do some damage if they bite you, but apparently the common giant house spider is harmless and will even kill the hobo spiders.

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I’m sorry I killed it, but it’s a reflex when I see a spider.

I just can’t take the time to catch them in a jar and turn them over to inspect their undersides with a magnifying glass (more trauma, up close) to see if it has a tiny circle of dots on the abdomen that would identify them as only a giant house spider, not a hobo spider. To me they are both terrifying to look at; and it’s even more terrifying to imagine them in my laundry.

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I felt guilty killing it. My mother always said not to kill spiders. She would sweep them into a dustpan with a tissue or just her hand (shudderzzzzz!!!!) and put them outside … so they could go and scare someone else  do some good.

I don’t need to go out on Halloween to get my scare. I can just stay home and do laundry.