Today’s Courier Herald Column.
Monday will be Halloween. This means getting to dress up to go out and pretend to be someone they are not. It’s like everyone gets to be a politician for a night.
Halloween is also marked as the busiest day for commuting with the worst traffic jams. Those who live along the I-85 Corridor north of Atlanta have hopefully been saving up to try the new Lexus lanes.
While the public outcry over SRTA’s new HOT lanes along the route has been fierce, traffic conditions Monday evening may have even the most jaded over the concept of paying extra to use a lane that was once free deciding an extra couple of dollars is worth getting to see the kids in full costume.
Halloween is also close to elections, generally held on the first Tuesday in November. Many municipalities will be having elections next week, and we’ll also pass the mark where we are one year from electing our President for the next four years.
Three years ago, I went trick or treating with my niece and nephew in Atlanta. They, aged 7 and 6 at the time, respectively, are a good sister and brother, which means they tend to fight a bit, and disagree even more. Just days before the election, each had taken sides. My niece, ever the serious one, had sided with her Dad and some of her classmates and was hoping for a John McCain victory. My nephew, already showing signs of being antiestablishment, had sided with his mom, an Obama supporter.
She and I, like her offspring, used to fight a bit and disagree even more. Politics is something we often disagree over.
My two older sisters and mother had also gathered at my brother in law and sister’s home so that we could see the kids dressed up before trick or treating. When it came time to walk the neighborhood, Mom and the aunts decided to hang back. I accompanied my brother in law for a long walk around the block, continuing the ritual of kids extorting candy from their neighbors with the threat of domestic terrorism should they not having treats readily available.
There had been a bit of political discussion among the adults prior to departure, and that seemed to have carried over to my nephew as we went around the block. He made his displeasure known every time we came to a home with a McCain sign in the yard. His sister reciprocated a bit at the sight of an Obama sign, but she mostly just wanted to see some of her friends and get some candy.
The last house we visited was up a steep hill, with a McCain-Palin sign standing guard at the base. My nephew, already complaining of being tired, took a look up the hill and said “I do not want any more candy from McCain people” and refused to climb the hill to the home. After a brief argument, I agreed to wait with him at the bottom while my brother in law and niece made the visit, as it was the home of one of her friends.
Upon returning to their house, the kids spread the candy for my sisters and mother to see, with my nephew particularly proud of his haul. He also continued his discussion of hating McCain and his celebrating all things Barack Obama.
Being an uncle sometimes allows the opportunity to be difficult, and I chose this opportunity. I informed my nephew that he was about to share the wealth, and started dividing his candy among my mother and sisters. He didn’t seem to object much that my mother should have some. After all, she was recovering from a broken ankle and wasn’t able to walk around the block herself. It seemed appropriate that there be a safety net for candy.
He was emphatic, however, that my sisters should receive nothing unless he chose to be generous. “But they CHOSE to stay home. They could have walked with us if they wanted candy. They stayed home where it’s warm and now they get MY candy?!?”
I never claim to be a nice guy, but sometimes, even without prior planning, I can manage to get a point across. Even to a six year old.
For the record, I haven’t been invited back to go trick or treating since. Perhaps the timing on the calendar is coincidental, and this is not a political holiday. Regardless, every day is an opportunity to learn. Better the kids learn some things early than having to wait until they’re in college and have to occupy a park to figure these kinds of things out.
Y’all have a safe and happy Halloween this weekend. And, of course, Go Dawgs!