Spare me the witches, ghosts, and goblins associated with Halloween. If I want to be frightened, I’ll watch the nightly news on television.
I lean more toward the softer side of Halloween and autumn in general. You know ~ pumpkin patches, baked apples, smiling jack-0-lanterns, little kids in clown suits, pumpkin pecan bread, and spiced teas.
How about you? What do you like best about October and especially Halloween?
I’ve seen a few seasons, Halloweens, Thanksgivings, and Christmases come and go. Seventy-five of each, to be exact.
We are on the eve of another Halloween. I don’t have many trick-or-treaters anymore, and I miss seeing children in their costumes. Especially the little ones, they are so cute.
When I was young there was no such thing as a store bought costume. Why would anyone spend good money on a costume when lipstick, an eyebrow pencil, and a little imagination could transform a kid into a clown, a hobo, a princess, a cowboy, an Indian, or whatever they wanted to be?
I always made Halloween costumes for my three children. They carried a pillow case or paper bag (or maybe that was what I carried when I trick-or-treated, I think the kids carried those plastic pumpkins with a handle) for candy contributions, and it never crossed my mind that anyone would do anything harmful or unkind as we patrolled neighborhood streets. I usually made popcorn balls for the trick-or-treaters, wrapped them up in clear wrap and tied them with orange ribbon.
I found this photo taken in 1967 of my three children. Geni (now 55) and Jeff (now 57) are on the back row. Little Eric (soon to be 51) is in front. My aunt made these costumes that the kids wore every Halloween until they were sick and tired of being a clown and begged for something new.
When grand kids came along, I made costumes for them. This is Anna (now 19 and in her first year of college).
The year that she was Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” I’d found a crinoline at a yard sale. I didn’t have a clue as to what I could do with it, but how many times does a person come across an old-fashioned, layered, organza, big-ass crinoline? It was only a couple of bucks, so I got it, never once considering where I would store this billowing mass. The thing must have been made with a six-and-a-half-foot-tall woman in mind. It was so long that anyone of us that wore it had to roll it down at the waistband a half-dozen times. I tried to stuff it in every closet in the house, but it took up too much space and kept the closet door from closing. So, I bound it with string at intervals up and down the length of the monstrous thing. This allowed me to push it to the back of the closet and quickly slam the door. Needless to say, when anyone opened the door out popped the petticoat.
Seeing Anna managing her yellow ball gown (another thrift store remake) while keeping up with a pumpkin full of candy was well worth all the hassle that crinoline caused. She was truly a princess for a night.
Anna/Other Halloween Costumes, other years
(Note: Anna’s American Girl doll that she carried wherever she went is named Nellie. One New Year’s Eve, Nellie married Kevin the toy soldier. We had a big wedding. Anna and her mother Lisa baked the wedding cake. A snowman played the piano, and Lillie and Charlotte’s American Girl dolls were bridesmaids. I made Nellie’s wedding dress, a three-tiered veil, four pink satin bridesmaids dresses, and all the flowers. We have videos somewhere of the gala event.)
And then there is the year that I was in clinicals. At age 60, I went to school for three years to become a surgical scrub nurse. (It was a short-lived career. I had to bow out once I realized that I couldn’t watch people die. To work in an operating room, one must be able to put aside emotion and do what has to be done . I’m too emotional to disconnect at the proper time. I ended up becoming a certified phlebotomist.)
Here is grandson Trey (now 22; just graduated college with a degree in aerospace engineering) as a surgeon in my disposable scrub suit.
Granddaughters Lillie (now 21 and in her third year at Samford University) and Charlotte (now 19 and attending art school in Paris) lived in France, so I was never with them on Halloween. I did get photos and phone calls that kept me in the loop. Here they are. Pretty cute, huh?
Well, so much for Halloweens past. How about a cup of tea?
If you haven’t blended tea, then you must give it a try. There are so many flavors and varieties available today. And you don’t have to go to a tea shop or specialty store to find it. Start at Wal-Mart and better-known grocery stores.
I always use Tetley tea. I just like it best. And, I mix it in a gallon-size container. The base of any tea blend is three bags of black tea (that’s where the Tetley comes in, but, of course, use the brand you prefer.) Today, with autumn in mind, let’s add one French vanilla chai, four pumpkin spice, four salted caramel, and one spiced apple chai.
I’m looking for balance: the vanilla and caramel should offset the chai, salt, and spice. My aim is to have a perfect blend so that any one flavor doesn’t steal the show.
I sweeten with demerara sugar from Wal-Mart. But turbo sugar, honey, or whatever you like best will do.
Let’s get started.
Bring water to a boil. Once the oxygen is reduced from the water by boiling you’ll have a bitter taste in your tea. So, watch it. Soon as the water starts to boil add the tea bags. Cover, remove from the heat, and steep for three full minutes.
Add tea to sugar in a pitcher. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add water to the top of the container. Stir.
Makes one gallon.
Pour over ice for iced-tea.
Reheat tea in the microwave for 40 seconds and pour in a teapot for hot tea.
Sip slowly. Enjoy.
Happy Harvest Time!!