Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The trip begins: Halloween

The trip is on!

Shortly after church on Sunday, Zbigniew Ting flew Mrs. Claus and me from the North Pole for a “scouting mission.”

I have tried to make such a trip every year. The goal is to see how the spirit of Christmas lives. I also want to see what children are like, and the kinds of things they want for Christmas.

Yeas ago, I made the trip around the time of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving. That used to be the beginning of the Christmas season.

No more.

Now the Christmas displays begin to go up in stores even before Halloween.

Such is the case this year.

After Zbigniew delivered us to Toronto, we rented a car and drove south to Western New York, where we plan to visit this year.

And yes, I do drive. Despite what my wife says, I do a fine job of it!

We crossed the U.S. Canadian border at the Peace Bridge. Although there have been new rules in place because of the fear of terrorism, we had no problem. I have a special visa signed by the President of the United States.

We stopped at a mall.

There were Christmas displays up.

In one store, I went to the clearance section where all the Halloween items were for sale at reduced prices – even though Halloween was still that night! – and boght some candy corn.

I’m partial to candy corn.

It was at that clearance section that I had my first real contact with children.

A girl who looked to be about six and her mother were looking through the costumes that were left. From their clothes, I guessed that they could not afford to spend much.

The selection was poor. Horrible looking monster and skeleton masks. A hockey mask with a knife stuck in it. Several cartoonish super heroes.

Nothing that would suit a six-year-old girl.

They were about to leave. The girl looked sad, but resigned.

“Excuse me,” I said, reaching into my shopping bag. “I changed my mind about this, but I think it would fit you daughter.”

I pulled out a cat costume.

“You could draw on a few whiskers with that makeup kit,” I said, pointing to remainder bin.

The girl brightened.

The mother looked for the price tag.

“I already paid for it,” I said. “Happy Halloween.”

I turned and left quickly before the woman could say anything.
“You are an old softy,” my wife said. She had seen the whole thing. “And what was the idea of doing a bit of gift magic this early?”

We later saw the mother and daughter across the parking lot. They were waiting at the bus stop. The girl was holding the costume. The mother looked relieved.

Last night, we stayed in a bed and breakfast near Batavia. Today, we are in Rochester. We will stay in a motel tonight, then travel south and east. I want to spend some time in the Finger Lakes region.

I’ve never been there before.

Well, except on Christmas Eve, of course.


At 7:05 AM, Blogger Amon said...

Well done on a nice blog Lee Strong. I was searching for information on santa costumes and came across your post The trip begins: Halloween - not quite what I was looking for related to santa costumes but very nice all the same!

We're all getting ready for Christmas and I've just put the finishing touches to my new site specially for kids, or rather their parents and relatives. You can go there and get Santa to send a really nice personalized letter to a youngster. It's great fun! If you have a moment, perhaps you'd enjoy taking a look: Letter from Santa .

Well, a merry Christmas to you and yours!


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