|A Pillow Case Full
Stephanie Ray Brown
2002 by Stephanie Ray Brown
As I light the last pumpkin luminary, the glow of the three candles can not outshine the twinkle and excitement in the eyes of five year old daughter Savannah and two year old son Cameron.
"Only seven more pumpkins to go, right Mom?" Savannah asks.
"Right Sweetie!" I reply as I scoop Cameron up in one arm and hold the door open for Savannah with the other. We return outside at bedtime to fuss over who is going to get to blow out the candles. Each night we light an additional luminary. When all ten luminaries are lit, our count down to Halloween is over and off we will go for a night of trick or treating! When my children are grown, I hope that they remember this memory and even make it a tradition in their own home.
Halloween like most holidays is a time to make traditions as well as share memories, but unlike some holidays, Halloween can also be associated with some terrible things. However, one Halloween childhood memory of mine is full of so much goodness, that I think it will put a glow in other people's heart. Each Halloween this memory warms my heart, much like placing candles in the luminaries for my children.
At eight years old, my thoughts were, like most third graders, on Halloween. Although I was trying to concentrate on cursive writing and the 4 times tables at school, my mind was still at home. Home was where my costume could be found. It was beautiful! I was going to be an angel with wings! Even though my mother had made them out of cardboard and leftover Christmas tinsel, I thought that she had made magic!
It was certainly an improvement over last year's costume, when I had been a female Frankenstein!This costume was a hand me down from my brother Kevin. Just fourteen months separated us, and we had to share everything including germs! The morning of Halloween, I was surprised to find out that I could hardly swallow! As mybrother hung his head down from the top bunk, he did not have to say a word! I knew that he was sick too! MUMPS! I could not believe anything could be more terrible especially on Halloween.
As the rain fell that night, my tears followed suit anytime I looked at my beautiful costume. My mother tried to make the best out of it, telling us how much fun it would be togive out candy. She kept reciting the old homily, Tis Blessed To Give As Well As Receive. I admit it was exciting to see what television character or creature our neighborhood friends would be, but it still was not quite as thrilling as going trick or treating.
After placing bubble gum and Dum Dum suckers in a witch's pumpkin, mom told us that it was time for bed. As Kevin climbed to the top bunk and I crawled into the bottom,we heard a knock on the door. Our mother came to our bedroom and told us we needed to go to the front door.
Framed in the front porch light, we saw the four Montgomery children. They handed a pillowcase full of candy to my brother and one to me! My mother told them to thank their mom for her thoughtful idea, but Bonnie, one of the older children's surprising statement was, "But Mom did not tell us to do this- we just thought that it was the right thing to do."
After saying heartfelt thank yous and goodnight, we watched the Montgomery children walk away. As they walked away, I noticed that they only had two pillowcases even though there were four of them. They had actually given away their own pillowcases full of candy!
As we packed the loot bags inside, we were in for another surprise! Our mother told us that we did not have to go back to bed. Miracles do happen! We could actually stay up and sort our candy!
As we put the Pixie straws, Tootsie rolls, and black and orange peanut butter kisses into piles, I was surprised to even find quite a few miniature chocolate candy bars. The Montgomery children had not even picked out the really good stuff! After a few trades with my brother, (his butterscotch discs for my orange slices), my mother said firmly that it was time for lights out.
Saying my goodnight prayers, I remembered a special word of thanks for the Montgomery children and their gifts of the pillowcases full of candy. I even finally forgave Jimmy Montgomery for destroying my cardboard doll bed the time he had tried to crawl in.
After 27years, this Halloween memory will never be forgotten and will always be treasured. The Montgomery children gave me more than a pillowcase full of candy. That pillowcase of candy was also full of love and concern for a sick neighborhood friend. The memory of this simple gift, that was given so unselfishly, continues to warm my heart, much like the sun melts the frost off the pumpkin.
Stephanie Ray Brown
loves to share this tale with her children each and every Halloween. As
a writer, she has the dream of this becoming a children"s book shaped like
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Another Story by Stephanie--Country Hick