Monday, October 31, 2005
A Full Size Surprise
My fondest Halloween was in our first home as husband and wife. We lived in a transitional neighborhood--mostly original homeowners, young fixer-upper couples, and a big community of Section 8 rentals. We weren't sure if we would get any trick-or-treaters. The other side of the street was nice and level; it and other streets had cracker box cottages packed tightly together. Our side of the street had driveways steep enough to induce cardiac distress, if you weren't training for a marathon already.
As fate would have it, one of the candy bar companies staged a refund promotion that fall. Customers could redeem a certain number of proofs-of-purchase for movie tickets. Then Kroger ran a super special--4 full size candy bars for $1. This made each movie ticket deal cost around $2.25. Needless to say, I stocked up!
After a couple of weeks of uninhibited chocolate gorging, I lost my taste for candy bars. That's when I had my bright idea. Let's reward any kid brave enough to climb our driveway with a full size candy bar (or two). We lit our friendly pumpkin and had all the interior lights ablaze, kind of a lighthouse-on-the-hill effect. We watched one group of kids, then two, then three, stop at the foot of our driveway, consider, and keep on walking.
Eventually an energetic kid or two made it to our door. My eyes welled with tears as they peeked inside our home, mouths agape. "Man, you house is so pretty and clean!" I don't think they were flattering us for more candy; I'd seen plenty of those filthy rental homes while househunting. You can imagine how wide their eyes grew when we brought out the giant bowl of candy bars, and how quickly they raced down the drive to show off to their friends who had waited at the bottom.
It didn't take long for the word to spread. Pretty soon we had a steady stream of uncostumed kids chugging up the hill. Everyone had an extra bag for "a cousin" who couldn't make it tonight. We handed out candy until we had no more. I don't think I've felt as grateful for our first little home since that night, bright with happiness and full of relative abundance.
(The photo at the top shows the bottom half of our drive as our toddler tried to walk downhill. We moved soon after, partly for safety reasons!)