Halloween, of Course


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I suppose eerie is an appropriate word for this day, since it celebrates death with ghosts and skeletons and horror movies and sugar overloads.

I’m old enough to remember when Halloween was just a fun time for all the kids in the neighborhood to go out in costumes (usually self-made) and gather candy, cookies, and apples from the neighbors. Our parents didn’t drive us to neighborhoods where there were lots and lots of people in a block or two. We went on foot in groups of five or ten, and we stayed pretty much within our own familiar neighborhood. Most of the adults knew us, even though we sometimes painted our faces or wore masks.  That made it even more fun, really, since most of our neighbors were the parents of the kids we were with.

Image result for Halloween in the 50s

(This could have been a picture of my neighborhood in the 50s)

We never heard about people putting razor blades in apples or poisoning the candy.  Homemade goodies were valued highly. We never thought about danger. It was just fun.

Now, I’m perfectly well aware that Halloween, historically, has always had elements of witchcraft, devil worship, and so on.  I’m sure there were terrible things that happened, completely unknown to us. That sort of thing didn’t hit the news, though, until sometime in the 70s and 80s, when a lot of us parents were no longer willing to let our kids go without supervision. One year, when our kids were all 10 and under, we had a Fall Party at our house instead of going out trick-or-treating.  It was great fun.  The kids loved it.  We did all the old-fashioned things like bobbing for apples and making taffy.

Nowadays, Halloween has become a great money-maker for the folks who sell costumes, decorations, and bagged candy. Somewhere, I read that it’s the most lucrative holiday, aside from Christmas, in America today.  Some people decorate just as much for Halloween as they do for Christmas. There are always new horror movies that draw crowds and keep the cash registers ringing.

I watched a horror movie once, when I was pretty young.  An old black-and-white vampire movie.  I don’t remember much about it except that pretty women kept getting bitten on the neck by weird guys with fangs.  It didn’t scare me.  In fact, I remember wishing it was over. My  parents must have been gone, or we would never have watched something like that.

I’ve never seen the more modern movies, with chain saws and scissors for hands and so on. Don’t want to see them. They’re hideous.

I am sad, though, to live in a neighborhood where the houses are just far apart enough that there are no gangs of dressed-up kids running from house to house.  In fact, we never get any kids here, in the 22 years we’ve lived in this house. I quit buying “just-in-case” candy a long time ago.

Ah, the good old days 🙂



Secret Place


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Lisl’s heartbeat kept up with her running feet as she made her way to the little bridge where she and Hans would meet. The bridge spanned a small creek that was a playground for children, who loved to splash in the shallow water in the summer.  At this time of  year, though, the cold bite of the water wasn’t inviting.  She and Hans should be safe from prying eyes.  And it was dark. They always met when there was a moonless night, and tonight there was the smell of rain. If the temperature dropped, it might even turn to snow.

As she neared the bridge, she saw a shadow move away from the cover of a large fir tree. Cautious, she and Hans both gave the signal. They both knew that they would die if they were discovered. They were as careful as they could be, but there were always, always people who wanted to gain favor with the new government, and would turn them in with glee. The world had become a dangerous place.

Hans grabbed Lisl’s hand and led her to the cave they had made near the bridge, covering it with branches and leaves.  They’d been using it for over a  year now, and so far no one had discovered it.  They crawled in on their hands and knees, and when they were both tucked safely away from the entrance, they sat up and embraced each other. The rest of the world disappeared for them as they simply held each other. It felt safe, but they both were sensitive to any sound that didn’t belong near their hideaway. Finally, Hans whispered in Lisl’s ear.

“We have news. The Allies are planning a huge attack near Normandy.  It could be the beginning of the end.  I’m going to put note in your pocket. If you are stopped and searched, it will look like nothing more than a scrap of paper. The ink is invisible until another chemical is applied.  We can’t stay here long, Lisl, and we may not get to meet here again.  The attack will be very soon.”

“I understand, Hans.  Will you be involved in the fighting?”

“I’m not sure yet.  I hope so. I’m old enough now, and I want to do my part.”

“Oh, Hans!  I know you want to fight, but it makes me so frightened. How would I go on if you were to die?  I can’t bear to think about it!”

“I know.  I know how you feel. But some things are more important than our personal lives. You know that I love you.  God will be with you, no matter what happens.”

They stayed only a few more minutes, knowing their secret place was always in danger of discovery. With one more embrace, Hans led the way out. Lisl followed him until they both stood on the same side of the bridge.  She watched him cross to the other side, knowing it could be the last time they ever met.


My Rights, Your Rights


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Wow.  It was fascinating to look through all the results I got from googling the word banned. There are so many things that have been banned by some group or the other that it got me completely off track from what I had originally intended to write this morning. Instead, I got to thinking about who has the right to ban anything or anyone.

I have the right to ban cigarettes in my house.  Also, nudity or near-nudity.  I don’t want to see your private parts.  That’s why they’re called private.  I have the right to ban alcohol in my house.  I have the right to turn off my TV if whatever I’m watching is offensive to me.  I have the right not to invite people into my house that I don’t wish to see. I also have the right to avoid places that I dislike, or people that I don’t trust.  Legally, I have the right of free speech, practice of my religion, and the right to keep and bear arms. I have the right to have as many children as I please.

I do NOT have the right to impose my personal preferences or even my convictions on YOU. And you don’t have the right to impose yours on me.

America is a wonderful place. It gives the disgruntled the freedom to destroy the flag that gives the the freedom to destroy the flag.  Makes a lot of sense, right?

And best of all, America gives those who hate us the right to leave; it even allows Americans who despise America the right to leave.

No one who comes to America has the right to limit my freedoms so that they will not be offended. If you don’t like American culture and religious freedoms, then don’t come to America.  See how easy that is?  Then we won’t have all the to-do about banning things that others have no problem with.

Of course, there are those out there who think America is provincial and stupid because we look askance at public nudity. Too bad.  I hope we never forsake that ban.  I don’t want you looking at what is under my clothes, and I certainly don’t want to see what is under yours.

One more thought and I’m done.  I find the practice of certain religions who ban members who have gone astray to be highly questionable.  When banning is used to bring the person back into the fold, it often has the opposite effect.  I’m pretty sure that if someone banned me from their society until I conformed to whatever standard they have set–well, I would have no desire at all to get into line. You would never get me to wear Nikes just because everyone else is wearing Nikes.  I’d simply go find people who like what I like, or who at the very least will leave me alone about my footwear or any other clothing.  See?  When banning is used for “discipline,” then it is really nothing but coercion. It is forcing someone else to give up something they want in order to regain your approval. However, I don’t have the right to insist on banning banning.  It’s their right to have free practice of religion.

By the way, did you ever think about the word disgruntled ?  if being unhappy about something is being disgruntled, then why isn’t gruntled the opposite? No one has ever said, “Oh, I’m a little gruntled about that!”

https://daily post.wordpress.com/prompts/banned

Ugly Bug


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There are a few things I find totally disgusting and horrible. One of them is the centipede.

Image result for centipede

My longsuffering husband just doesn’t get it. “Linda, it’s just a tiny little bug.  It’s a lot more afraid of you than you are of it.”

Yeah.  Blahblahblah.  I don’t care how tiny and insignificant it is, it needs to be killed.  By him.  Without my participation.

For several years now, he’s been spraying all around the outside of the house with some chemical or the other that keeps spiders and centipedes out of the house.  I love that chemical. It works quite well.  However, it needs to be done about every three months.

What I would like to know is why I am the one who sees the first centipede that dares to sneak into my house  on his ugly little legs.  Terry never sees them.  Just doesn’t see them. There’s nothing more upsetting than to make a trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night, switch on the light, and see a centipede go racing across the floor—or just sitting somewhere, being icky.

I always kindly notify Terry that it’s time to spray again because I SAW A CENTIPEDE!

I rarely (never) use multiple exclamation points, but I was just very tempted to do so. A centipede deserves multiple exclamation points just for ugly.  Yuck. I hate them. The bug, not the punctuation.

They’re hideous. Tiny in size, I suppose, but huge in ugly.


Intern Opportunity


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“So, now that you’ve heard the story, is anyone willing to volunteer for the job?  Understand that you will not be paid, but you can use it as your internship.  You will be working 16 hours per week, and it counts toward your degree.  Anyone?”

Sabre was immobile. She wanted to raise her hand, but so many things kept her arm down. First, her parents would be appalled. She would be overseas all summer, and she wouldn’t be  making any money at all. She would be remote, with infrequent access to wifi or even her cell phone. She had no training for the work. She would need a completely different wardrobe. Her boyfriend would definitely not like it.

But her heart was stirred.  It could be the opportunity of a lifetime. She had read about Mother Theresa, and had wondered what it would be like to live as she had; to give her whole life over to serving those in poverty, outcasts, orphaned, sick with diseases she’d never heard of.

“Anyone?  You’re very quiet, people.  I need a response on this today. We need to move on in our agenda here, so I’m going to ask you to talk with me after class. Please open your books to page 157, and let’s get started on this next chapter.”

Sabre didn’t hear a thing in the following half hour. Her mind was sorting out all the pros and cons of accepting this challenge. She knew her parents would be upset, but she also knew they’d get past that and support her.  Money would not be a problem. All the rest of it was practical and possible, and she found more and more that she wanted to do it.The one she’d really have to persuade was Brandon. They’d already talked about several things they wanted to do over the summer.  He wouldn’t understand this at all.

After class, Sabre made her way to the front. Professor Whitney was clearing his desk, getting ready for his next class.

“Professor Whitney?  Can we talk?  I have a couple of questions.” As they spoke, Sabre became more confident about her decision, and more excited that she was actually going to do it.  No one else in her class had volunteered.  It seemed the way was wide open.

Brandon was waiting outside the door of her classroom.  They were both quiet as they walked outside and found a place to sit. The campus was green and blooming. May was such a beautiful month, with all the flowering trees and bushes.  Did she really want to miss it this year to go live in a huge city and work in the least appealing districts of that city?

They sat on the ground under “their” tree, the one where he’d first asked her out; the one where he’d said he loved her; the one where he proposed and put her engagement ring on her finger. At they same time, they both said, “We need to talk. . . .”

All of Sabre’s fears evaporated as Brandon shared with her that there was this amazing opportunity in India with the Missionaries of Charity.


The Millionaire


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Does anyone remember watching this program?  I remember thinking about what it would be like to be a millionaire and be able to buy anything I wanted.

Today, a million dollars wouldn’t  last too long. Unless the recipient chose to invest a good chunk of it, the money would soon be used up on the mortgage, a new car, a better TV, a trip somewhere, a new wardrobe. . .. it would be gone very soon.

And one thing for sure:  Money would not bring anyone true happiness. It’s fleeting,  and requires a great deal of effort if it is to be used well. Sure, it would be great to have a million bucks all of a sudden, but all I really want is to have enough. To have money leftover at the end of the month.


A Woman to Respect


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I’m sure many of you had the same first thought that I did:  The underground resistance during WWII. Hundreds of amazing stories have come from the experiences of those who fought in secret. One of my favorites is the story of Irena Sendler, a social worker in Poland who worked in the Jewish ghetto.

Others have told her story already, so I’m going to take a break today and give you a link to follow instead of writing it myself:



What Are You Waiting For?


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“We’re always waiting for someone or something, aren’t we? ” Miss Grady looked at her students’ faces,  which showed her a variety of reaction.  Dread, nerves,  a little fear, expectation, hope, acceptance.  They knew there was going to be a writing assignment. Most of them would do a half-hearted job.  They disliked writing, except to text their friends. There were a few, though, who always turned in papers that were original, thoughtful, funny, serious–depending on the assignment.

“So here’s what I want you to do.  On a blank sheet of paper, no name, please,  write the words I am waiting for  and then leave the page blank. Send your papers to the front, where I will collect them and redistribute them randomly around the room. You will not know whose paper you have.

“There are some things that are forbidden. Once you have a paper in front of you,  write a short sentence that explains something you are waiting for.  The things that are disallowed are Christmas, your birthday, Thanksgiving, and the last day of school.  Also, you may not write anything that has already been written, and you may not write the same thing over and over on all ten papers.  Stretch your mind. Be creative.

“When you have written your sentence, exchange  your paper with someone else who has finished. Number your own response so that it is easy to tell when you get to ten.  When you have reached ten, raise your hand and I will collect the papers.


“Remember, you are to write only one sentence. The second person  to get each paper does the same, until each of you has completed  10 papers. Lucky for you, this is a small class! When you are all finished, we’re going to compile all your answers and see how many of you wrote the same things. Does everyone understand?  Okay, then let’s get started. “

Miss Grady watched as the students began to write,  She could almost hear some of them thinking, “Finally, a short assignment we can finish in a hurry.”

As the papers traveled,  Miss Grady saw smiles, raised eyebrows,  surprise, puzzlement. She was looking forward to seeing these papers herself, wondering if any of them would reflect her own “waiting for.”   At the end of this exercise, each student would have written ten complete sentences.  As the papers filled up, it was going to become harder to think up something new.