If you’re reading this in the southern half of Curtis Park, then you’ve survived another year of the joyous chaos that is Halloween.
Witches! Incredibles! Inflatable T-Rexes! Lines of treat-entreatiers out to the sidewalk and “Sorry, she got the last one – we’re out.” Perhaps you’ve vexed a few dentists, but there are a whole lot of happy kids.
In the north, it’s street-by-street and year-by-year. Sometimes, we go through five bags. Sometimes, we pack leftover “fun-size” Snickers and Butterfingers into kids’ lunches for weeks afterward. (Note: The only thing “fun” about tiny candy bars is seeing how many you can stuff in your mouth at one time)
Either way, it’s a blast and it’s always entertaining to hear the gasps of the first-timers afterward: “We went through 600 Smarties in two hours and had to turn off our porch light at 7!” You’ll know better for next year, rookie.
Equally calorically indulgent, but limned with reflection and perhaps a slight tinge of melancholy, is Thanksgiving. Turkey Day is my favorite holiday because, even though its origin story is a pretty flagrant misrepresentation of colonization, it asks for some introspection: What am I thankful for, and who am I thankful to?
We’ve all got our own things to be thankful for, so my list would bore you and probably come off as preachy or humblebraggy. I would like to challenge you, however, to make thankfulness and ritual an active part of your holiday. Go ahead and have each person around your table say something they’re thankful for as the dressing passes by. If you’re the host, stand up and make a toast.
Please also make it a priority to help those who have less to be thankful for. We see pain and misery in and near our neighborhood, and it’s really easy to drive straight on through the underpass without thinking too much about the shopping carts and impromptu bicycle chop shops and what they really represent. Whether your help is through time, money or effort, it will make a difference in someone’s life.
Hug your family. Act as mediator for your kids’ candy trading, taking a small percentage off the top for your services, if necessary. Write a few checks. Bundle up in a scarf and hat and wave at the neighbors from your porch. Vote. Vote. Vote. Enjoy another month in Curtis Park.