Halloweenie Party Favor


The fire blazed a bright orange against the dark, cool night.  An old man with a beard heaved a log onto the flames, sending a whoosh of a thousand sparks into the air like a fireworks show in the middle of summer.

“Thanks, Firekeeper,” someone yelled from the crowd that circled the bonfire.

A zombie nurse and an overgrown Brownie jumped out of the way with squeals as hot ashes landed on their bare legs and arms.  What did you expect standing that close to an open fire?  I mentally growled at them from my perch atop a tractor tire.

I sat between the rubber treads; a huge, round woman dressed as a pumpkin, with green felt leaves and stem bobby pinned into my hair, waiting unhappily on a ride.  Three treads over, a jail bird husband nervously refreshed his phone, in hopes that a driver had picked up the request.    

Unfortunately, we were in the middle of a four cornfields and miles away from the city.  We had not anticipated the Uber and Lyft shortage of rural Indiana or of the nerve wracking nature in being at a costume party, elbow to elbow with drunk people and seven months pregnant. 

I felt like a character in a video game, the crazy clowns, police, walking dead, Gumbies and Trump-alikes were out to get me with their elbows, props and disoriented bodies.  I had to dodge big men and little women alike to escape from the warmth of the barn and into the open air with my jail bird following closely behind me, just as concerned about the perils of the party.

When we finally got a ride, it was with a MAGA Trumpster who couldn’t hold in his thoughts about his beloved leader, sexual assault and his interpretation of consent, and lastly, the current state of his marriage. I wasn’t sure if we would ever make it back to the safety of our home.   

Last year, it would have been just another crazy weekend of going out without consequences or responsibilities aside from the hangover that awaited us the following morning.  Now, the world feels different, somehow spinning more quickly and with more gravity than before, one in which we have an unborn babe to protect and raise until he can go out and make equally poor choices as us, like going to a party without a real plan to get home.

Indiana and pumpkin beer

It’s cold and crummy here, yet everyone continues to rave over the leaves.  It’s as though the reds, yellows, and oranges are incredible enough to replace the light and warmth, formerly provided by the sun.  The leaves are nice, but a poor substitute for a sun-worshipper, like myself.

We talk about the weather on a daily basis because there is little else of mutual interest, aside from the latest performance of the Colts and construction on the interstates.  I have a dream of a place where people have more than football and ‘was that rain or snow’ discussions for mental stimulation.  It’s a wonderful place, in this dream, where the people are open-minded, cooperative, and creative.  It’s warm and sunny and only rains enough for the grass to stay green and for the fruit trees to blossom.  Somewhere out there, I have this gut feeling that such a place exists but I have yet to find it.

Back in reality, there is a single and solitary redeeming benefit to life in Indiana during October: pumpkin beer.  The mere thought of a glass of freshly tapped pumpkin beer with a brown sugar dipped rim is the only thing able to pull me forward through the drudgery of this week.

Perhaps I am feeling a little bitter at the loss of summer, shorts and greenery; and I need to get a better grasp on the actuality of seasons in the Midwest.  This is how it’s always been and always will be because the weather, like the friendly folks of the state, refuses to change for better or worse.

In any event, cheers to the weekend and taking pleasure out of the small things.

Drink a pumpkin beer this weekend and think of your friend in Indiana, dreaming of someplace warm and sunny out there.