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I Stood in the Rain

Story ID:5437
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Sambro Nova Scotia Canada
Year:1970
Person:Those in change
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My hand slipped and gave the black cat a
lumpy nose. Fur rose on its back. It's
fluffed tail stood straight in the air, as it
hissed at a ghost rising from the ground. I
grabbed an orange crayon and began to trace the
outline of a Jack-O-Lantern, careful to
stay inside the lines and not make the same
mistake I did with the cat. I wanted my Jack-
O-Lantern to be perfect.

On my right, Rosemary was almost
finished. She was fast and really good. She
colored better than anyone in our four-room
school.

My crayon twirled in small circles,
carefully filling the pumpkin with orange. I
reached the teeth - the hardest part. I got to
the last tooth. My crayon caught in a crease in
the desk under the paper and caused me to go
outside the lines. To correct my mistake, I
made that tooth bigger than the rest, and ruined
my pumpkin's toothy grin. Then again,
maybe it made it scarier.

The bell rang. "Be careful tonight, children. Have fun trick-or-treating!”

I rushed home and burst through the door, "Mum? Mum, when can I go out?"

"Michael, I've told you a hundred times
this week, you can't go out until it's
dark. Do your homework first. When you're done,
you can have your supper and then get
dressed."

The smell of fried bologna and boiled
potatoes drifted to my room. My stomach
growled, as I completed my additions.

"Michael, supper's ready." Mum called. I
closed my scribbler and rushed to the
table, ready to eat and get my costume on.

My thoughts were on the night ahead, as I
spread butter on the steaming
potatoes and then smothered the bologna and
potatoes with Ketchup©. Normally, this
was a meal I savored, but it was Halloween. I
gobbled my dinner down. "Mum? Time to
get ready?" I stared at her anxiously.

The sun slipped behind the tress across
the street. "Ok, I guess it's time."

Mum helped me dress. Like most years, I
was a hobo. I had a plastic mask of a
scary, old man handed down from my older
brothers. I slipped on a black pair of pants
several sizes too large for me, and threaded my
arms through the sleeves of a plaid
checkered shirt.

Mum helped me feed a piece of rope
through the belt holes and tied it tight
around my waist. My winter boots completed the
outfit. She adjusted the mask on my
face and said I was ready.

"Be careful!" Mum called after me.

I tilted my head, held the railing, and
tried to see the steps through the holes in
my mask. My pillow sack was slung over my
shoulder. In a few hours it would hang like
an anchor, filled with goodies.

I knocked on the door. "Is Justin ready?"
I asked his Mum when she answered
the door.

"He sure is!" she said. "He's been waiting for you."

Justin Gilkie was my best friend back
then. We planned to walk through the
whole village of Sambro. He was dressed as a
pirate and had a real sword from the nose
of a swordfish. The scars on his mask, with red
paint for blood, look real in the growing
twilight.

"How much do you think we'll get?" Justin asked.

"If we walk all the way to 'The Basin,'
we'll have more than we can carry." The
Basin was on the other side of Sambro.

"I hope we get lots of candy and chips. I
hate it when we get too many apples."
he said.

"I heard Martha's mom is giving candy apples." I said.

"OK! I like those, but regular apples seem cheap to me."

We reached the end of the point, and
began to walk from house-to-house.
Friends joined us. Sweat beaded on our faces
under the masks. Between stops, we'd lift
the masks to cool off. In a few hours, we’d
walked dirt roads, climbed steep hills,
stumbled back down them, and knocked on doors
until our knuckles were sore.

I stood behind my friends, as Justin knocked on my door.

My mum looked out and began handing out
candy. "Michael! You can't fool
me!" My face turned red under my mask.

****************************

"I'm tired." I said.

"Me too." Justin replied, his mask
resting on the top on his head. The elastic
band holding it was tangled in the hair at the
back of his neck. "I got enough! Most
houses are out of stuff anyway. Let's go home.

"OK! Let's go home. Tomorrow, let's get
up early and look for firecrackers the
big kids dropped. I wonder whose outhouse they’ll
turn over this year?”

I spilled the contents of my pillow case
onto my bed: chocolate, sweet candies,
potato chips, peanuts, and a bunch of other
stuff. I stuffed everything back in the bag and
hid it under my bed, so my brothers wouldn’t find
it.

********************************

I stood by a light pole and watched
little kids run from their parent's cars to the
front door of our house. They knocked, gathered
the candy my mum handed out, and
rushed back to their cars. Heavy rain beat down
on me.

I was thirteen - a year of change. I
wanted to be little and gather candy. I wanted
to be older and join the big kids in their
mischief – lighting firecrackers, throwing rolls of toilet paper over tree limbs, or even rolling
over an outhouse.

The rain beat down. I walked home. "You
miss going out, don't you?" Mum
asked, as I walked in the door, dripping water on
the floor.

"No, I'm OK." I lied.

She looked at me and handed me a bag. "I
saved some for you."

I went to bed and cherished my treat.

*************************************

It was the first big change of my life. I
was too old to trick-or-treat. Toys were
left in a box under my bed. Cars, dating, and
freedom were in my future.

I was at the in-between stage.

Years later, I realized that night was
the beginning of many changes. I'd grow
comfortable, think everything was right in my
life, and once again stand in the rain.

I went to work and learned layoffs were
coming. I wanted to stay where I was,
comfortable in my surroundings. The future was
unknown.

I stood in the rain.

A job offer came. It was in another
province. I didn't want to move from what I
knew.

I stood in the rain.

I met new people, experienced new things,
settled down, and in a few years,
another job came to an end.

I stood in the rain.

Dressing up and knocking on doors on
Halloween ended a long time ago, but
when times get tough, I stand in the rain, knock
on new doors, hold out my pillow case,
and wait to see what treat life will fill it
with.

I’m never disappointed.

Michael T. Smith