Cowboys, Candy, and The Holiday Season

At last it was the season I’d waited for.  I can remember counting the long hard days as well as the slow summer months that I felt would never end, by magic autumn was here full of color and cool breezes.  Back then I thought that autumn was the holiday season.  Schools, churches and businesses decorated their windows with witches, warlocks and Santas.  It seemed as if carved out pumpkins were on every porch or front yard.  It was easy to get into the holiday mood and everyone seemed to have more food than they could eat.  Gifts and warm greetings from people were everywhere.  I was happy, at peace with myself and for a time I felt safe.   The horrid, hot,deadly summer season was gone.  For a time I forgot the gunshots and police sirens, their lights flashing in the dark nights, the deadly stickups,drive-bys, and the dealers on the corner. For a time I lowered my guard enjoying the warm, safe time of Halloween and the holiday season.


Even though I couldn’t afford a costume,  I went on my way into the night with an oversized shopping bag ringing doorbells, waiting for the door to open.  Then I, a cowboy, repeated the magic words that every child knows “Trick or treat, trick or treat”, “Trick or treat,  Aunt Rosie” I said.  Aunt Rosie stood in her doorway staring at me.  She looked as if she had seen something shocking.

“Baby,” she said “What are you tonight? Honey, what are you?”

“Aunt Rosie,” I said, “I’m a rough and tough cowboy.  My name is Deadwood Dick and here is my horsey his name is Joey” I said, holding up my old mop and making horse sounds.

“Okay baby,” she replied while pouring candy into my oversize shopping bag.  “Baby, why you got paint all over your clothes and face?”

“Aunt Rosie, tonight I have to go into Indian territory and I’m wearing a disguise so they won’t know I’m a cowboy!”

“Oh,“ she said. “Is that why you’re wearing old rubber galoshes?”

“Well yeah “ I said. “You see if an Indian thinks I’m crazy they’ll leave me alone. Indians are scared of crazy people, Aunt Rosie, but I’m not crazy.  I just want to get me some candy ‘cause I’m a cowboy and cowboys love candy.”  I stepped down her porch stairs into the night, into the next doorway.  “Trick or treat, Trick or treat?” I would say when they opened the door.

I rang the bell a second time, maybe they hadn’t heard the bell the first time, maybe they were watching T.V., some vampire movie,  maybe they were talking on the phone or using the bathroom.  So I rang again.  My plan before I left my house was to have my oversized shopping bag full of candy when I got back home.  The way I figured, every apartment or house had to give me some candy, enough I thought to last me until the great supper, Thanksgiving, as all the grownups called it.  That was the only time of the year when we had turkey, cranberry sauce, dressing, potatoes, candied yams, collard greens, muffins, cakes, pies, cornbread, nuts,chocolate and candies, so to me it was the great supper, that’s what I called it. The only time that I didn’t have to store food in my room, under the bed or hidden in a dresser drawer.  So I rang the bell one more time.

It was then that I noticed that the house was all dark and quiet and no one was home.  So I went on up the street, down some avenues, around some corners, up some blocks, doing what any good cowboy and his horse Joey would do.  My bag got kind of heavy and my horse was thirsty, so I figured I better go home before any of my brothers and sister got there.  My plan was to have all my candy already hidden in a safe place and then to help them eat all of theirs.  The way I figured it, I’d have candy to last until the spring and then Easter would arrive, and there would be a new type of candy, sponge rabbits and chocolate, and Easter eggs, the last holiday before the killing season would begin.