Over the river and thru the wood,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes,
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.
Petty Morrell asked his wife, on Halloween Night, the same exact question that he has asked her for the last 30 years on Halloween Night.
” Marginata, why do we do the same exact thing for Thanksgiving? Why can’t we for once do something different.?”
Marginata answered Petty’s question the same way she has answered it for the last 30 years.
She ignored Petty.
“We bring the same food- as wonderful as you pumpkin pie is, you’ve done it to death and we sit at the same table and we hear the same stories about your Grandfather- who you never knew because he died in that accident at the Circus before you were born. I mean, Mar- please a little variety. Can we wear funny hats or bring pizza or hey, here is an idea let’s not go.”
Marginata closed her eyes- for all of his going on and on about getting stuck in a mind numbing routine Marginata thought that Petty would find something new to add to the conversation.
So just as Marginata was about to give her standard reply they both heard voices and then a knock at the door. Marginata grabbed a silver bowl full of mini chocolate bars and little bags of candy corn and she said, ” I like the funny hats idea Petty. That was a funny line the first time you used it and almost 30 years later it still makes me laugh”
” You’re not laughing.” Petty pointed out.
” I am on the inside.” Marginata told him as she opened the door to two mini-sized devils, one medium-sized space alien and in a stroller made up to look like a basket with a baby dressed up like a stalk of celery sitting in the middle of it.
She handed out the candy. closed the door and turned to Petty and then- surprise! He had something new to say:
” You would think that a man who born with a tail and a full set of teeth would have produced a family with people who were at least open to new ideas.”
Marginata shrugged, ” lots of us in the family were born with tails and teeth Petty. Even me.”
” So why do we have to sit at a table and pretend to be like everyone else?” Petty asked.
“Well. It’s fun.”
” You think acting normal is fun?”
” No, I guess not. It’s more funny than anything else. After all my sister Ella found five bodies buried in her shed. Only somebody in my family would end up buying a house that was once owned by a spree killer who buried the bodies in a tool shed with no tools in it. Normal is sort of neat idea in our book”
” Your Uncle Beltrane certainly thought so.”
” My Uncle Beltrane thought someone cut his hand off while he was sleeping and replaced it with his neighbor’s hand. Uncle was weird yet practical on…well, the other hand.”
” Maybe so, but I’ll bet he’s glad for that weird old Insanity Defense being there when he went to get his hand back.”
Marginata said slowly. ” The woods truly are full of crazy people.”
” Your brother would know all about that. “
” He never said the woods were full of crazy people- he said the trees were crazy. Sometimes I wonder if you ever really listen to what people are saying or if you just react to what they say.
There was another knock at the door and the little group of forest animals, Pirates and Werewolves remebered to thank Petty for the gummy candy eyeballs after he shut the door.
” You need to embrace the weirdness that is your family, your history Mar. I mean, I fell in love with that too you know.”
Marginata smiled a real warm smile at her husband and hugged the bowl to her chest. Then went back into the kitchen to fill the bowl with more candy.
Petty said, as he heard Marginata opening plastic bags ” Look, just try one new thing this year-anything you want. Big, little, doesn’t matter. Just shake things up a little.”
Marginata called back ” Well, ” she thought out loud ” I suppose I could try baking something new. That might be fun.”
Petty groaned silently and rolled his eyes up into his head and called back ” sure, that’s the spirit.”
Marginata’s bowl of candy was overflowing and she said happily as she walked out into the living room,” I’m thinking apple.”
” Oh yeah?” Petty said encouragingly.
” Spiced apple.” Marginata said.
” Now there’s a thought.”
” You don’t love it?”
” I like the idea Mar…really.”
” But you don’t love it.”
” I could.”
” Yeah. Well. Let me think-” this time the bell door bell chimed and Marginata walked towards the door with her bowl of candy she was saying something to herself about spiced apples and rum raisins and then she sighed.
Petty heard that and regretted bringing up the idea at all.
Despite the fact Marginata’s Mother who as a child was suspected of starting a fire that burned down the Leaning Birches Prison back in the 50’s and may have caused the deaths of over 200 inmates- Marginata was and would always be a sweatshirt wearing suburban housewife.
” I don’t know Mar- your family does love those pumpkin pies of yours, especially when you whip up the whip cream with the nutmeg. It’s a nice touch.”
” I make it with fresh cream straight from my cousin Beezer’s dairy farm “
” Is his daughter still in jail?”
” Sorry to hear that. I still don’t know what made that girl think she would not get into trouble for sneaking into the County Morgue and-“
” Kids.” Marginata said as she opened the door.
Petty heard the chorus of Dracula’s and witches and clowns sing out ” trick or treat” but he didn’t hear Marginata ooh-and ahh over the costumes or offer to let them choose their own treats from the bowl.
He turned and the door was wide open and Marginata wasn’t looking outside- she was facing into the house. The bowl of candy was in her hands and she was smiling.
” Petty, ” she whirled around and faced the Trick or Treaters ” I have a great idea for a pie.”