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Every special occasion brings with it The Letdown — the sad feeling one has when the party’s over. We are now in the post-Hallowe’en blahs. And the leftover, now unwanted carved pumpkins left by the roadside are the symbols of our angst. Since it’s been over a week since the festivities, they sit, moulding, collecting garden bugs, their happy or scary faces drooping and shrinking into ugly contortions of their glory days. Not unlike the human body after a certain age.

The crows collect on nearby trees and wires, waiting for an opportunity to peck at their innards. And soon the neighborhood kids will smash what’s left of the once proud gourds all over the streets. The only good thing after Hallowe’en is the bargain bin at the grocery stores. It has more chocolate and candy than you can imagine for cheap! If you scoop it up fast, you can ALMOST afford next year’s Hallowe’en.

That’s bad enough… but the real downer  (and it’s fast approaching) is the discarded trees of Christmas. They are thrown to the curb in what look alarmingly like’ body bags’ for collection to be turned into mulch. I feel badly for the poor trees, once standing so proudly, festooned to the nth degree to grace our homes and delight children with the sparkling lights and gaudy balls, standing guard over the array of gifts Santa has brought. Some families take the tree down and pitch it immediately after the holiday, not wanting to clean up dried needles off the floor. Whatever way it ends, it is usually undignified. One year, we threw our tree out the second floor window to avoid dragging the dried needles through the house. I’m sure the neighbors wondered…

I usually leave it up until New Year’s, trying to pretend that the holidays are still in full swing, that the family is not scattering far and wide, that the generosity of spirit and goodwill will remain even after the tree vanishes, that this will be the year I make it to the end of the leftover turkey before getting sick of it.

Part  of the problem is that, by the time these celebrations come and go, we’ve been ‘enjoying’ them for months. They’re old and tired…as are we with them. There’s a lot to be said for the old way of doing things — putting up the tree the night before Christmas. Then it seems fresh and exciting on the actual day.

And putting carved pumpkins out as house decorations when summer weather is still here seems the height of the ridiculous. Plus it gives the neighborhood vandals too much time to plan gruesome ends to the  gourds and ghoulish plots to scare folks. Too much time gives too much opportunity. As I walk the neighborhood streets this week, the gourd carnage is everywhere, offering the crows a buffet almost as good as the daily roadkill squirrels.

Gill had planned to celebrate Hallowe’en this year. She was going to go to a party with friends. Alas, Crohn’s reared its ugly head and she stayed in with her BFF, the toilet. I went across the street to help the neighbors hand out candy, herd the new puppy away from the door and keep Jewel (their large hound/horse) from beating the kids with her furiously wagging tail. Oh, and drink wine…

I concluded, after the rainy evening that was Hallowe’en, that the only thing sadder than discarded pumpkins is discarded home made costumes…to whit, the neighbor’s cardboard box airplane, complete with hand-operated cardboard propellor blades and  limp tailpiece. She and her parents had thought of every minute detail — except the bad weather. The mom, at the last minute, stuffed a piece of plastic in the box to protect both child and inside of the plane from getting wet. This quickly dislodged as the child tried to take the corners in the house, manouevre through doors and hallways, on her way to the outside. I suspect the dings and crashes as she hit the walls didn’t do much to fortify the plane against the downpour.

And , although she had been enthusiastic about the plane when first initiated, the fact that she couldn’t hold the plane in place and hold her large candy sack at the same time took some of the sheen off the costume. But no matter, that lack of sheen was more than made up for by the rain turning it into mush with every street traversed. Good thing the little girl had wisely worn her best princess costume as well — just in case things took a turn…as they did. She could still dazzle the homeowners with her sparkly dress and point to her mushy plane…possibly passing it off as a chariot that had seen better, drier times. Since it was indistinguishable as a plane at the end of the evening, who were they to argue?

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