recipe
Oct
28
2010

Thoughtful Thursday

This will likely be my most controversial post to date so buckle up.  The following paragraphs might render comments I refuse to approve, depending on my mood. I might even get an email or two.  And when it hits facebook, I might see my followers number decline.  But, all I can say is: it was inevitable.

I am going to talk about Hallowe’en (and likely some other things too). And not in the general sense that it is a holiday. Which it is.  Or that I love it.  Which I do.  And I will go ahead and tell you what prompted this post, and what some may see as a rant. And those that see this as a rant, have never actually seen me rant ;)

NOTE: Since I wrote this I edited it to add some pictures I found of Hallowe’ens past.  Such sweet memories.  They are in no particular order.  Enjoy!

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I was in Wal-Mart yesterday afternoon killing time, buying a few groceries while Ben was in Chemistry class.  I was milling around the Autumn/Halloween section, disgusted mostly by the amount of plastic crap, when I hear this voice.  The kind of voice that makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.  That horrible grating twang of a grown man who insists on using phrases like “ain’t got no”, “you done it”, “I seen it”.  I am immediately put off by his grammar and his tone.  His little wife, a very petite woman in a dress and with her hair pulled into an extraordinarily tight bun, was pushing the shopping cart in front of him and she made some comment about the pretty Autumn wreath she stopped in front of.  And this gargantuan man says in a very gruff and loud voice “We ain’t a-gettin’ no Halloween stuff.  That’s the Devil’s day.  Woman, get a move on.”  I wheeled around to look at his face hoping he was making a joke or kidding.  But he glared right back at me with a very stern look on his face. And his poor “woman” looked like the chickens had got her biscuit.  Sheepish.  Embarrassed.  Just beat down.  Yes, I muttered a verbal abuse.  Yes, I questioned whether his parents were married when he was conceived.  Yes, he probably heard me.  No, I didn’t care.  Why are people like that?  You could tell he was just a barrel of laughs ALL. THE. TIME.  And that poor woman was in too deep to claw her way out.  And maybe she is perfectly happy being spoken to like she’s an idiot in public.  But all I could think was if he talks to her like that in public, how must he treat her in private?  I know, I know, none of my business.  NONE. My second thought was what a MORON.  Hallowe’en is not the Devil’s Day.  Not at my house anyway.  I knew, though, if I had the rest of my life I would have never had an intelligent conversation with him and furthermore, I didn’t care what he thought or believed.  But the fact that people, lots of people, are afraid of Hallowe’en has always baffled me.  Lots of things baffle me, though.

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Hallowe’en was a big deal to me as a kid.  It was my favorite holiday.  Still is.  All the fun, food, family and no pressure of gifts!  It’s not that I don’t love to buy for people, I do!  But it is a lot of pressure for some people and very stressful.  But all that is beside the point.  My point  is Hallowe’en is not evil.  Evil people may celebrate Hallowe’en.  They also may celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah.  There are evil people in all walks of life.  Some of them even walk around verbally abusing their wives in Wal-Mart and they HATE Hallowe’en.

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I hate generalizations.  And I am just as guilty as anyone at times.  But it irks me about myself and I try to keep a lid on it.  I really and truly do try to meet people as individuals.  And I don’t think any less of people who choose not to participate in Hallowe’en, even if I disagree with their reasons.  Those are THEIR reasons, therefore, none of my business.  And as long as they don’t try to convince me how evil I am for donning my witch hat in public one or two days a year (two parties this year – YAY!) then we will get along fine :)

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This was Hallowe’en 2000

Yes, I know what we celebrate as Hallowe’en today started as a religious holiday for Celtic pagans.  I have read lots about Hallowe’en and its origins.  But not much scares me and I don’t have a problem with those facts.  There are so many superstitions that were passed down to me by my aunts and uncles and grandparents that I learned not to let things frighten me.  In fact my grandfather, Daddy Tom to me, wouldn’t have liked it one tiny little bit that I own a black kitty.  He was scared to death of them!  My Daddy Tom was Irish/Scottish and whisky was his drink of choice.  Nowadays he would have been in jail or meetings but back in the day, he carpentered all day, and drank all evening.  And please PLEASE do not think I am speaking ill of him.  I loved him very much and he worshiped the ground I walked on.  He was my best friend when I was a little girl and when he died he was building me a country fair in his back pasture, complete with a ferris wheel.  By the time I came along he had stopped drinking and was legally blind from glaucoma.  But when he was a much younger man, drinking and driving was common.  I think drinking and anything was pretty common with him :)   Anyway, he had a bad car accident – bad for the car, he wasn’t hurt badly.  And you know what caused it?  A black cat.  Yep.  A black cat walked across the road in front of him and he panicked.  There is no way it could have been the fifth of whisky he drank.  Nope.  It was the cat.  Poor kitty. He was also deathly afraid of frogs.  That one I can’t explain.  Frogs??? Pretty harmless I think.

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Did you know that if you see a spider on All Hallow’s Eve, it is a dearly departed relative coming by to check on you?  Well, if you had grown up in my house, you would have known that ;)   My mom’s side of the family was a mixture of “old country”  and lapsed Catholics.  So tradition and celebration ran deep.  Things that people find offensive and evil about Hallowe’en were so much a part of my childhood, that I didn’t have any idea of any controversy until I was grown up.  When I was a kid, I went to Hallowe’en parties at CHURCH!  I won a costume contest when I was in the 7th grade at the Methodist Church Hallowe’en Party.  And what did I go as?  A black cat!  Dang, that was a cute costume!  Probably the one time in my life I didn’t go as a witch.

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I guess I should just get to my point.  If I can remember what it was.  Oh yeah, you can make something evil out of anything.  You can suck the fun right out of everything if you try hard enough.  Remember when I say this, where I am coming from and, please know, that if you believe the complete opposite, I accept that.  I won’t try to convince you I am right and you are wrong.  Everyone is entitled and, by law, has a right to their own beliefs.  That includes Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Pagans, Agnostics, Atheists, and everything in between.  Hallowe’en is not a religious holiday for me.  It’s not what I was taught. It is for some.  Christmas is not a religious holiday for some.  Even those that profess Christianity.  They see it is as evil.  Ruined by Santa :/ I was pretty old before I realized it was religious for some people. Christmas was all about Santa in my family. I happen to love the jolly old elf!   As an adult I realized I appreciated this about my family:  they may have been heathens, but  they weren’t hypocrites!  I say this to point out that you can’t lump people into categories with any accuracy.  You can, I suppose.  But you shouldn’t.  I have friends from ALL beliefs.  I love hearing about how they celebrate.  Their family traditions.  Some of those celebrations I wish I took part in.  Or could see firsthand.  I am fascinated by what makes people tick.  What makes them believe what they believe. And yes at times I have shook my head and thought what???  I am also fascinated by the fact that some people think what they believe is the only thing anyone should believe.

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There was just so much I never realized was taboo.  Don’t get me wrong, I was raised with rules and manners.  Keep your skirt down, your elbows off the table, your hands clean, your teeth brushed, your room picked up.  Do not talk back to your elders.  Follow the rules at school.  Make the best grade you are capable of.  If asked, tell the truth even if it gets you into trouble.  In fact always tell the truth.  Don’t hit people.  Don’t tell lies about people.  Be sure what you are about to repeat is not just gossip, that’s a waste of time and hurtful.  Always look out for the person who has no one else to look out for them. Stand up for people who don’t have the power to stand up for themselves.  Being poor is not a sin, or a stain on one’s character, but not sharing what you have is.  Do not mistreat animals or people, especially people less fortunate than you are.  There will always be someone who has more than you, but that doesn’t make them better than you.  It’s not what happens to you in life, it’s how you handle what happens to you.  At times these truths have escaped my judgment but I have never forgotten them.

What I wasn’t taught was that my idea was the only idea, that what I believed was right for everyone, that just because your mouth opened and shut did not make it a prayer book.  I am not sure exactly how that last one translates literally, but I heard it a lot and I got the gist.  I also learned that if my mom could find a cookie cutter for something it must a holiday and we were going to celebrate!

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My dad was raised Methodist and, periodically, we went to church when we were little, and even some after I was in high school.  But never on a regular basis.  When I was 9 my dad sobered up through AA and we all became friends of Bill W.  So that was our “religion” for many, many years.  And it kept our family together and my parents together and never once did I ever hear anyone browbeat or told what a horrible sinner they were for their relationship with the bottle.  Most of the people I met through AA had already been to Hell and not much scared them.  They were the most spiritual people I have ever known.  And I am very thankful they were there to prop my dad up instead of condemning him.  And of course I learned the Serenity Prayer, as every good meeting goer.  But I never once thought of the God of the prayer being just one certain one.  I figure  if a Hindu man or woman showed up needing a meeting, he or she would be welcomed with a hug, and quite possibly the worst coffee made by human hands.  I don’t think anyone would have thought twice if that person had added a name to God or even said gods.

I did have another point??  I suppose it would be if you don’t judge me for my religion or lack of religion, and even if you do, I won’t judge you for yours.

Happy Hallowe’en to all my secular friends. Merry Samhain to all my pagan friends.  Blessed All Hallow’s Eve and All Saint’s Day to my Christian friends.  If you don’t do any of them…Happy Thursday.  And have a wonderful weekend.

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I do disagree with you about the intent of hallowe’en {can you explain the apostrophe in the word, I’ve not seen it printed that way until this year?} BUT- your post was very well written, you are entitled to enjoy this season how ever you wish! I’m sure that the treats {Rachel’s Santa Cookies, recipe is my very favorite sugar cookie recipe… Thank you for sharing that last year} that you make are just delictable and probably totally cute.

The man in the store was horribly rude to his wife and if a Christian, not the best of an example of a Godly man. We are a conservative homeschool family. We girls wear dresses, the boys keep modest. I guess I’m lucky as my husband would never say anything like that in a store or in private.

Last night we had a little party at our church, the children could where costumes {our little ones did}, we all enjoyed a pizza supper and a great time of fellowship with friends. There was candy and fun little carnival games, a bouncy house and a Gospel message. It was in place of the regular Wed. night program for the children. We don’t make a big deal about it- costumes are chose from things we have here and are things that the children might wear for dress up here anytime.

Come Sunday, it will be just like any other Sunday, except we will place a note at the end of our walk that let’s folks know we aren’t participating. We are the exception within our church, as a matter of fact our Pastor opens his door to his neighborhood children. Most folks are understanding, a few make rude comments, {In past years, Hubby’s sometimes working in our uninsulated garage and heard what is said}. Those parents weren’t setting a very good example for their children, just as the man in the store was a poor example also.

Some years we visit a local pumpkin patch, some years we get pumpkins from the store. Sometimes they get carved, some years they don’t. The children look forward to corn candy, caramels and orange and black jelly beans- and other candies too. Our children are not deprived in anyway, they love this time of year! They look forward to the church party, the candies, the pretty leaves, carving pumpkins, yummy sugar cookies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread and on and on I could go!

We used to celebrate the day just like everyone else but not regularly- When the children were real little, we usually had sick ones, so the night would be “ruined”…So we became sporadic, then we just gave up…Then we were educated as to it’s origins; we had to decide what was going to work for our family and what wasn’t… Our children actually were relieved about the trick or treating thing, they thought it was weird to go know on “strangers” doors and take treats from them, when they’d been taught not to talk with strangers, they had a list of other things that just didn’t seem to match up with what they’d been taught Bibically. They just wanted to hear that we would still have pumpkins and candy.

Today I was in a local store {not a stuff*mart}; I did say to my children that I would be glad when that merchandise was gone {they agreed with me} I said it because the store looked cluttered, they had all the halloween stuff, then they had Christmas trees up a main aisle and Christmas things on end caps…I know that they just start filling space as it empties, but it was weird having both things sort of intermixed… And I do think that some of the merchandise that retailers have come up with as “harvest” is kind of cheesy.

I do hope that no one says anything terribly rude to you. Enjoy your party!

Connie

Well said, Suzie, and of course SO well written! EVERYONE has a right to have their own beliefs, without being mistreated or judged harshly. We don’t have to agree with each other—but should RESPECT each other. And as for the Walmart episode—what an overbearing, hateful, ignornant man! I can’t help but feel sorry for his poor wife.

Thanks for sharing these ADORABLE pics! Absolutely loved them!

Vicki Martin

I agree totally. Everyone has a right to their own beliefs. I could do a rant of my own here but I’ll will refrain. You said it much better than I could.

I’ve just recently found your blog but haven’t been reading faithfully yet, not because of content but what has been going on in my corner of the world. Anyway, I wanted you to know that if you thought heard someone jumping in their seat and saying “yes! Yes! YES!!!”….it was me.

Susan…A very thought provoking post…and everyone on this dear planet of ours…has a right to believe what they want… practice their own faith… and do so without other people telling them they are wrong for doing so.

I personally believe in the creed ” harm to none” and live and let live.

You can be sure that the Higher Power… who created everything… doesn’t care that we are different and live life in diverse ways… or practice faith in different ways… maybe this was the sole purpose… of being created in the first place…diversity makes the world interesting… and hopefully teaches us all the lesson of being open minded… and living with an open heart!

A woman who is part French… part Italian… practices yoga… meditates… and prays under trees

Victoria in Houston

You must be my soul sister! I couldn’t have said that any better. As my aunt used to say, “Everyone is entitled to their own dumb opinions.”. And I will fight for that right — no matter how much I disagree with you! Because I hope you will do the same for me. I am so tired of having others’ morality and beliefs crammed down my throat. “Big government” isn’t the problem, it’s all the little control freaks out there who think they know what is best for everyone. Ok I think I will put my soapbox away for now. Thank you for having this conversation!