A post-Halloween story
I realize that Halloween is over, but this post is in anticipation of Thanksgiving.
The Friday after Halloween we went to a café with our family for breakfast. My grandson, Manny, was thoroughly enjoying his pancakes (as if he didn’t get enough candy the night before) and our baby, Oliver, was trying his brand new teeth on a pear. We had a very friendly waitress who kept coming around with the pot of coffee even though our cups were full. I could tell she wanted some smiles from our beautiful boys. When we were getting ready to leave she shared this story:
A couple of children went trick or treating in their neighborhood. They were going from home to home knocking on doors of houses with the lights on. This is what people do around here, they leave the lights on, to announce that children are welcome to come by and get their candy. These two children approached one of those houses, which happened to be the home of an elderly couple. The couple was not in good health and they barely ventured out anymore. They had forgotten all about Halloween and had inadvertently left their porch light on.
When the children rang their doorbell, the old man opened the door. He was surprised to find the children in their costumes and with their pumpkin baskets.
He was mortified.
“I am so sorry,” he said, apologetically, “my wife and I have not been well, and we forgot about Halloween. I am afraid we don’t have any candy to give you.”
The little girl thought about it, and then replied:
“Oh. That’s ok. I have lots of candy. Would you like to have some?”
And she held out her basket.
The waitress in the restaurant finished her story with this remark, “Someone is doing a nice job raising that little girl, don’t you agree?”
I do. Someone is teaching that little girl to share.
I have been thinking about that story since we left the restaurant. I wonder what it would be like if we changed our Halloween tradition and we made it a day where all children went to the elderly and brought them candy, or a basket of biscuits, like Little Red Riding Hood, or even just a smile. Imagine how much joy there would be; a scary night turned sweet, so sweet, even without the candy.
And I think about Thanksgiving – yet another opportunity to raise our children and grandchildren well. This American holiday is supposed to be a time when people share what they have with those who do not have much. Churches and other groups provide free meals for the elderly, the homeless, and the poor. Many give turkeys or other food to these groups. Some spend part of the day helping to prepare and serve the meals. Our family doesn’t do that, yet... Our family comes together – which is a blessing – and we cook and we eat a huge meal. We make a craft, we build a puzzle, and we may watch the game, enjoying each other’s company. We do say a prayer of gratitude before dinner. And that is how we celebrate the day of gratitude and sharing.
I am grateful for that waitress at the restaurant. I am glad she gifted us that beautiful Halloween story. My husband and I now have five grandchildren. They are learning important values. Perhaps this year we can start a new tradition. Perhaps it is time that we can follow the example of that fine little girl and share our bounty like the pilgrims did many, many years ago…
And what about you, dear reader? What are your traditions? What do you do during your holidays to teach your children and grandchildren good values? I need ideas. Let’s all inspire each other