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The Last Windrow: Memorable Halloweens of years past recalled

Our daughter was dressed in a snowsuit, boots and a stocking hat. It was tough to see her Halloween costume under all that garb. She and her mother were determined to go trick-or-treating. The blizzard winds were pounding on the door as we left t...

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Our daughter was dressed in a snowsuit, boots and a stocking hat. It was tough to see her Halloween costume under all that garb. She and her mother were determined to go trick-or-treating. The blizzard winds were pounding on the door as we left the house that late October evening.

It was the Halloween blizzard that is still talked about today in northern Minnesota. Hatched somewhere up in Canada, the storm came plowing down across North Dakota and targeted our area with screaming winds and snow so thick windshield wipers couldn't keep up.

Halloween is sneaking up on us. The day when it is OK for adults to dress up and act like they never would at any other time of year. Adult parties will no doubt take place where normally introverted folks will act crazy and dress crazier!

I've always felt awkward at such events. Call me a "stick in the mud," but I find no pleasure in imitating a clown or a werewolf. It's challenge enough for me to wear acceptable clothing, and a rubber mask just seems out of place somehow.

I didn't feel that as a kid, when it was exciting to dress up and go visit our farm neighbors. I and my brothers and sisters were trucked around the countryside making stops at neighboring farms and small gas stations to obtain a stash of candy that we never saw any other time of year.

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Sometimes we were disappointed when we yelled "trick or treat" and received an orange in response. What could these folks have been thinking? We were after treasure, not nutrition!

Usually corn picking was about finished when Halloween happened. The night air was filled with the sweet smell of a freshly picked cornfield as the wind howled through the now bare branches in the farmyard. In the dark there was a eerie feeling as we jumped out of the car and headed up the sidewalk. I was glad to have my brother and sisters along for company and it was heartening to know that Dad was waiting in the car in case something went wrong and we were abducted by some creature in the house we were entering.

One of our favorite stops was at Anna's farm place. Anna was a elderly woman who lived with her son. She was rarely seen anywhere except at church on Sunday. Somewhat of a recluse, she seldom left the house.

The first Halloween visit we made to Anna's house was somewhat spooky. I think my dad had paid her a visit prior to that evening and let her know that we would be stopping by. I rang the doorbell and stepped back, not knowing exactly what we might be expecting.

Upon entering Anna's dining room we were greeted by a large, lace-covered table with several bowls full of different candy treats. Not an orange in sight. Anna invited us to take as much candy as we wanted and when we had taken a sample from each bowl, she gave each of us a caramel-covered apple and wished us a happy Halloween. That place I remember yet.

The blizzard was howling as I, my wife and daughter headed out of the door, my daughter toting a hollowed out, plastic pumpkin with the words "Trick or Treat" emblazoned on the side. The pickup was in four-wheel drive as we plowed from one house to the next. Snow piled up to my daughter's waist and drifted over her tracks up to lighted doorways.

We were not the only people on the street. I thought to myself that at least we weren't the only goofy humans fighting the blizzard. We barely made it back into our driveway.

I think of that long-ago Halloween blizzard around this time of year and of all those distant Halloweens and that lady named Anna and her table full of treats. And no orange. All were memorable.

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See you next time. Okay?

Related Topics: THE LAST WINDROW
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