Wednesday, October 25, 2006
I don't mind telling you that sometimes Sister St. Aloysius bugs me. I'm not talking behind her back here. I told her just today, "You are REally bugging me." She would laugh if she had a sense of humor.
Occasionally it's a daily living thing, like when I found out she had never ever cleaned the stove. There was another time when I lost her at the grocery store for over an hour because instead of staying put like I asked her, she was looking for me while I was looking for her. That never works. Sometimes she doesn't pay attention to where we've parked and we have to get someone to drive us around in a golf cart until we find the car. That's embarassing.
But most of the time she actually bugs me in a good way, in that she comes up with things I hadn't really thought about, like the possibility of a future war in heaven. I can't stop thinking about that. I'm very upset about it.
When we got back from the Catholic Charities empty handed again and with the clock ticking on Halloween she opined that before we go back we'd better have a plan. I couldn't think what she meant by that. We have a plan: get stuff to make Halloween costumes.
"No, " she said. "We need to know what we're making exactly and what's appropriate."
Okay. The Little Mermaid, out. Saints, okay but not necessary.
"When we were little we loved to dress up as tramps, " I told her. This is a no-brainer. First of all it's an easy breezy lemon squeezy costume to come up with, especially if you're shopping at the Catholic Charities. It's easier than being an Episcopalian. And secondly, it's fun to be a tramp. Tramps don't live by the same rules as the rest of us.
"No," she said. "Tramps are just homeless people. It's not right for children to pretend to be homeless for fun."
She had me there. The Foster Brooks factor. Drunks used to be funny. No more.
You may be surprised to find that I'm all for political correctness. To me, that just means pay attention if you're hurting someone else's feelings. And if you get your knickers all in a twist because it causes you to behave in some way that makes you uncomfortable bingo! You'd better take a look at why it makes you so unhappy to consider the feelings of others.
But this is a slippery slope costume-wise. "If that's the criteria, then are we crossing pirates off the list? Pirates are really evil people. Is it okay to dress up as evil people?"
I'd like to stop thinking about this and mull over the war in heaven. I feel like Donald Rumsfeld talking to James Baker.
"My brother thinks that Halloween should only be about scarey stuff. Goblins, ghosts, monsters..." she said.
"Oh, I don't think so. It's also about clever costumes, and dress up, and pretty, pretty princesses...." I argued. Although I have to admit my two favorite costumes during my days as a trick or treater were the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow and the two headed monster my friend Jackie and I made by sewing a two tramp costumes together. We scared my six year old cousin out of his socks when we came lurching up out of the basement in it.
I was scaring children even back then.
"Ghosts are always easy, " I offered. "We probably have enough old linen to skip going back to...."
"NO!" she gasped. "We don't want the children getting involved thinking about ghosts!"
She's got me there, again.
I mentioned before that the Catholic church doesn't get all silly about Halloween. But we do want you to stay away from seances and ouija boards and all that kind of thing. Here's why: the devil is a tricky guy. You may think it's your beloved Aunt Julia haunting the old house, but it could be the devil dressed as your Aunt Julia. And he doesn't wait around for Halloween to behave this way like you do. Or it could be your Aunt Julia on a field trip from hell. How well did you really know her anyhow? We need you to stay away from that whole thing. You'll be in over your head and end up the subject of a movie where you spew a gallon of pea soup.
I believe it was at this point that I told her she was really bugging me.
"You're really bugging me, " I said. "We have to get this done with so I can crawl up in the garage loft and get out the Halloween decorations and put them up."
You'd love our Halloween decorations. They are as old as the hills. Jointed skeletons and witches and black cats. We have a big caldron we put the candy in and we wear pointy hats and stand out on the porch and hand it out. If we have time we grab some dry ice. Spooky. My knack for scaring children is the perfect finishing touch.
That sort of clinched the deal, I guess. She loves the decorations, too. What's a skeleton, really, but a naked ghost? What's a witch if not an instrument of the devil? Let's just have costumes and candy and make believe and feel a little scared and try to keep your mother from eating all the Snickers bars you got and leaving you with candy corn.
Candy corn! Now THAT is evil.