Until one Halloween.
Mama took off the week before Halloween, I forget where she went but she must have been in a hurry to get wherever she was going because she hadn’t even bought Halloween candy for the trick or treaters and my parents lived on a street that gets major trick or treat traffic.
The doorbell started to ring as my father was making his dinner. I imagine him walking in measured steps, leaving the leaded glass door open as he went into the front hall, and down a step to open the door, surely expecting the neighbor only to be surprised by a throng of children piping, “Trick or treat!”
“Oh, yes, right, well, yes, just a minute…” and he moved off with a determined pace to search the cupboards. He was lucky my mother was on her Slim Fast Diet kick.
He opened a box and let a Chocolate Fudge Brownie Slim Fast bar slide in each bag. He felt quite smug until he saw the troops of Trick or Treaters marching down the street. Another group was at the door before he could think. Cookie Dough Slim Fast bars for them.
His steps must have taken on a more frantic look as he went back to ransack the kitchen. Everything was fair game: maple and brown sugar oatmeal packages, cinnamon apple tea bags (in individual bags), hot cocoa packs, saltine crackers taken from Wendy’s….and when things got really busy, he resorted to dumping spoonfuls of Swiss Miss hot cocoa with marshmallows in zip lock bags.
We liked to imagine the parents’ faces when they found my father’s improvisations.
When my mother got home she scolded him, “Richard, don’t you know you could have turned off the front light?!”
“What, and disappoint the children?”