Friday, November 30, 2007


Today in her blog, Funny the World, Bev wrote about a malady she and her husband have.

"Around here," she writes, we call it 'Flat Surface Syndrome.' People "with F.S.S. have this strange aversion to seeing any bare flat surface, so any flat surface becomes a place to lay 'stuff.'"

Oh dear! Her diagnosis of F.S.S. was a direct hit on me! As I sit in my living room, typing on my laptop, every horizontal surface in sight is covered, some to the point of the danger of slippage and/or collapse. I hadn't thought about the benefit mentioned by one of her correspondents that F.S.S. alleviates the need for dusting. At least that's a positive side effect.

She points out, too, that those afflicted can usually find whatever it is they've lost in the "stuff". It may take some time, but we can usually identify the proper pile.

F.S.S. has played a part in the type of appliances we have purchased. For years, I had a top-loading washing machine and had to keep it bare. But now, at last, I have a front-loader, leaving the top surface free as a place to store the laundry basket and the detergent. And, of course, I could never had had a chest-type freezer. It would have quickly become inaccessible. And, naturally, the top of my upright freezer is filled almost to the ceiling.

I wonder if there are meds for this syndrome, or perhaps a 12-step program. I do know that it's genetic (sorry, girls). It's said that the first step on the road to a cure is to identify and acknowledge the disease. Somehow, I do not foresee a cure in my case - I guess I'm doomed.

Today's photo is a fall rose at Studio 2.

As good as ever

There's a feature in Newsweek magazine in which an author or movie maker is asked to name five books or movies that influenced him/her. He/She is then asked which book or movie, upon revisiting, was disappointing.

We've just watched a movie, for the umpteenth time, that is possibly even better now than it was the first time we saw it. Anatomy of a Murder, made in 1959, an Otto Preminger production. It is a faithful adaptation of the wonderful novel by Robert Traver. Every actor in it gives a magnificent performance, and the movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards.

Watch this movie again, or don't miss a first viewing. Read the book - your library will have a copy.

What movies have you watched that stand up to watching again and again and again? I'd love to hear about some you liked (or hated).

And, with no connection, today's photo is of a Confederate Memorial at Shiloh Battlefield, Savannah, TN.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

UTC 57 - MTSU 54

We're hoarse tonight. Our Lady Mocs played a long hard game against MTSU (Middle Tennessee State University), and were all but expected to get blown out of the gym. The Ladies played probably one of their best games ever, and WON 57-54. It was SO exciting!

The game was hard fought by both teams. However, one of the things made this game so special happened off the court. There was a good crowd of students and the usual fans of the Lady Mocs. But there was also a large contingent of MTSU fans, sitting together, wearing their school's blue and white colors, and noisy supporting their team. The pep band played, the cheerleaders danced and tumbled, and the Elite Dancers entertained. The gym was wonderfully noisy.

There were special games going on during the times-out, and a great magical act during half-time. And, at least from our viewpoint, the best team won.

And you could get all this for $5.00 for a general admission ticket! You could spend more by buying a program, food, drink, or souvenirs. But women's basketball has got to be one of the biggest bargains around. Granted, you can pay more to see a Top-25 team (like our wonderful Lady Vols, Duke, Texas, UConn, etc.), but at your local college, you'll still see some great basketball.

Get out and go see some Women's Basketball games.

Today's photo is of a steam powered generating plant along the Cumberland River.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fall Photos

Just some fall photos to enjoy.

Monday, November 26, 2007


There's just too much to do on Mondays. Why does Monday always seem to be the catch-all day? And, if it's not really that much, it surely does seem like it. Maybe it was just the lowering skies and the all-day rain that makes it feel like that. Especially when we're not used to having rain like this. Since last night, we've had 2.5" of rain at our house.

Swimming (three days a week); coffee (can't have swimming without Panera's); laundry (have to do it sometime); run the dishwasher (ditto); bridge (I wish I'd get at least one day of really good cards0; decide what to have for supper (thank heavens for good leftovers); pack the Fuller's Xmas presents to take to UPS (they forgot to take them home with them on Saturday); help the Lady Vols demolish LA Tech (81-60); knit (I really need to do Vicki's pullover sleeveless vest). Retirement is like that - it always makes you wonder how you ever managed to find enough time to work.

It doesn't sound like much, I know - but it surely does seem to take up a lot of time. I guess, as they say, It's a dirty job, and somebody's got to do it.

Speaking of knitting, here are two views of the almost-finished right side of Kate's sweater that I'm knitting for her. It's a Vivian Hoxbro "shadow strip" design. Amazing, isn't it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cell phones

Today, I want to write about cell phones. Not to rant about them - just some observations. I've had one for several years. John didn't want one, so a couple of years ago, I just went out and got one for him. He complained, and rarely turns it on. But he does carry it when he's out and about, and even turns it on from time to time.

We've all experienced thoughtless people who don't turn off their ringers during concerts and performances. Or those who sit in restaurants with other people and talk incessantly. Frankly I don't know why their companions don't just get up and leave - I would. I did appreciate it when we were on the Delta Queen last summer, and a sign at the entrance to the dining room said, "No cell phones".

Today's subject, though, is prompted by two cell phone conversations that were foisted on an unwilling public by a really stupid woman. We were on the River Explorer, and were sitting in the main public lounge of the vessel. The woman came in, sat down, and started her conversation. She had a loud, carrying voice, and made no attempt to muffle her conversation. She was trying to make a plane reservation for a time immediately following the cruise. Everyone in the lounge was able to hear every word she was saying. It was a fairly long and involved procedure. At last, she was ready to make a purchase. And then, she proceeded to give the airline agent, and probably some 20 other people in the lounge, her full name, with spelling; her credit card number, with expiration date and code number; her birthdate; her home address, telephone number, and cell phone number.

I almost wrote all the information down, so I could give it to the woman to alert her to the danger she had put herself into. Wrong or right, I decided to mind my own business. But, anyone with half a brain and a pencil could have done serious damage to this lady's credit rating, and made her life a living hell for some time to come. Maybe I should have told her.

But, wait - there's more.................

That was the first full day on the week-long cruise. On about the fourth day, this same woman is back in the lounge and, you guessed it, on the cell phone again. To another unwilling audience, she told her friend on the other end of the conversation about how sick she'd been for the last few days. We got a glorious all-but-technicolor description of her vomiting and diarrhea, minute-by-minute. We were extremely glad that she had been so sick she had to stay in her bed and the servers took her meals to her, so she wasn't out in the boat infecting the rest of us. Now, folks - this isn't something I'd talk about so graphically with anyone except maybe my spouse or my doctor. And certainly not in a public space.

I guess maybe I intend this as a warning to all cell phone users - or maybe just a plea for sanity. Think - for God's sake - THINK about what you're saying in a public place. Other people are listening!

Today's picture is of a lovely maple tree on a sunny day.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Quiet time

The house got much quieter today. The folks left a few at a time, heading for different destinations, all taking food with them. Jean and Spencer are the only ones left tonight. We had a wonderful dinner at the Blue Orleans. That Cajun food is really good. (We'll start working on the leftovers tomorrow.)

We all actually got naps in this afternoon. Then we had the torment of the Tennessee/Kentucky game, with it's four overtimes and its basketball-sound score of 52-50. Tennessee won, but it wasn't pretty.

And then it got worse. John and I went to see the Lady Mocs in the final game of the Panera Bread Classic. They played Louisville. The score was tied at the half, but then, as they say, "the wheels fell off the truck". The final score was 80-53. The Lady Mocs were really out played by a seemingly much better team. Just hate it when that happens.

Women's basketball is really a good game. I can only encourage everybody to support your local college or even high school women's team.

Today's picture is one of John's, and just for fun - a flock of black vultures resting on a transmission tower from the Cumberland River

Wonderful, wonderful

Today was the day we celebrated Thanksgiving. Margaret, Matt & Amanda arrived about noon, and Jesse came in about an hour later. So now we were 9. Dinner prep started in earnest soon after that. Margaret sliced the smoked turkey off the bones, then sliced the ham that Wayne had smoked. Rolls were set out to rise. Potatoes were peeled to be ready to boil and mash.

The youngsters (guess we can't call them "kids" any more) started playing games - Mexican Train and Rummikub At least they did until we ran them off so we could start setting the table. Four different kinds of cranberries - relish, chutney, jelled salad, and the old fashioned jellied cylinder. We got the raw veggies out, and all the pickles, olives, spiced peaches and apples.

Our friends showed up soon after that, bringing wine and laughter. So we started getting things heated up. We had casseroles of dressing, two versions of sweet potatoes (neither with marshmallows on top!). We had corn from the Smiths' garden, too. And, of course, gravy. This much food has got to be obscene, but we don't waste anything. Leftovers are eaten, frozen, or shared. Everybody takes food home to those who didn't come.
Just getting all the family and friends together is what makes Thanksgiving so special. And we even got a call from our Venezuelan "daughter" this morning.

I was thinking, too, that lots of the food was prepared by loved ones who didn't join us - who just wanted to contribute. Larry smoked the turkey, Wayne smoked the ham, Wanda made one of the sweet potato casseroles, the cranberry salad, and some of the desserts. It's just great to have such good family and friends!

We did take photos, but that'll come later. Today's photo is another of fall colors along the Cumberland River.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A very special treat

Kate and Andy got here before noon. Sue, Paul, and Sarah came in for about an hour this afternoon, to visit and to pick up and deliver Xmas presents. Everybody looks great. Our smoked venison loin dinner was very good - and we didn't even overeat. I guess we're saving that until tomorrow. Margaret called and she, Matt & Amanda, and Jesse are coming tomorrow (today?) after lunch and will spend the night. That'll make for a nice houseful. The five us us played Mexican Train after dinner. Kate wound up with the lowest score, but it was a hard fight!

We had a wonderful surprise today - an e-mail from Ricardo, the son of the Venezuelan family with whom we did a number of teenage exchanges in the 1970s. The exchanges began with a program called Partners of the Americas. Three of our daughters stayed with the family in Caracas for six weeks during the summer between their sophomore and junior years in high school. Two of their daughters, Ana and Marjorie, stayed with us, Marjorie for 7 months. We have had some contact with Marjorie over the years, and she is now living in Boston. We had seen Ricardo only once in the US over 25 years ago, when he was a teenager and he and his parents came to the US. They stayed with us for a few days when we lived in the Nashville area. Like our girls, most of them are now married with children and even grandchildren of their own. He sent a couple of photos, too. What a great gift this is. Ricardo writes that he comes to the US several times a year. Maybe we'll get to see him sometime.

This was one of the great prizes of the internet. I gather that Marjorie had been reading my blog and told Ricardo about it. We're just thrilled about this reconnection.

Today's picture is of the lovely Cumberland River with some fall color.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Well, we're heading into the Thanksgiving weekend. It is a great time - a typical American holiday - all about family, food, and fellowship. It's gotten to be just an introduction to Christmas, and is almost overlooked, except as a shopping opportunity.

We won't have all the family here this weekend, but we'll talk and eat enough to make up for those who aren't here. Jean came in this afternoon, and we've already made a trip to the Aquarium. She hadn't seen the penguins, and hey performed appropriately for her. Kate and Andy will come down tomorrow, and Sue will come in for a few minutes when she can. Margaret, Matt, Amanda and Jesse will come in on Friday, and we'll have our big dinner then. Margaret and Kate are bringing the turkey and ham, and the side dishes will appear here.

We'll do all sorts of things, and watch some football games on TV, and probably go to a basketball game or two. We'll even divide up the Christmas presents to go the the various homes so we don't have to mail them. It really doesn't matter what we do. The point is that we get some time to be together and that what's important.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Today's picture is a sun dog along the Tennessee River.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Off the curve

Things finally slowed down this afternoon. But up until then, I was busy, literally, from head to toe. At 7:30 this morning, I was in the dentist's office getting my teeth cleaned. And went from there to the nail salon for my pedicure. Not often one can get that kind of coverage. (sorry)

I love doing surveys. I never talk to people who call or come to the door, looking to sell me something. But just mention survey or questionnaire, and I'm your gal! I like to think that I'm so far off the norm that I can really skew the data. Or at least cause a blip on the curve. Actually during political seasons when candidates are doing a lot of polling, John and I will take turns with the callers.

Somehow, I got on one of the really big lists. I'm currently filling out my second Nielsen rating book. I've done one one radio listening, too, but they've never asked me to do another one of those. I guess when you only listen to the radio in 3-5 minute segments, several times a day in the car, you're not much help. They make take me off the TV list, too, because our TVs are off so much. So far, the one in the office has been on only about one hour in 6 days. And the main set in the living room is never turned on in the mornings. Plus we spend a lot of time with it turned to the Music Choice classical music station.

I just LOVE being off the curve!

Today's photo is a limestone bluff on the banks of the Tennessee River.

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's Monday!

It's been a long hard Monday. We both had eye check-up appointments this morning. We have full exams twice a year because of various eye problems - nothing serious at this point, but worth the extra watching.

I hope this was the last Wal-Mart before our Thanksgiving dinner. That will be on Friday this year. I'm hopeful, but not holding my breath.

We have a smaller group than usual at bridge today. And the cards were pretty poor. I never add up my score, but I know it wasn't good. And not only that, I had the wash to finish up when I got home. Poor me, aren't I pitiful!!! Gee, it's a tough life. Well, enough about me.
Sometimes even the Tennessee Legislature can come up with a good idea. A bill was introduced providing up to $8,000 to cover the costs of college for Tennessee veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. What a great thing - almost a 21st Century version of the G.I. Bill. Now if they will just pass the bill.

Today's photo is what makes our National Battlefields so difficult to visit.


Lady Vols 92 - Texas Lady Longhorns 67 (can you see us smiling!?!) John and Margaret went up for the game. They were happy campers when they got back here.

We got a good laugh at one of the stories on CBS Sunday Morning today. It was about wines. The reporter asked about the fact that wineries are all now going to screw-tops or plastic stoppers. The wine industry has been having problems with corks. Cork has become harder to get and more expensive. Also it is not of as good quality. So the industry is having to eat all those pronouncements it's been making for years about how only cheap wines have screw-tops - and that any wine of quality has a cork. It is funny to watch them work so hard to now make screw-tops acceptable.

Attendance at the student party at Studio 2 was pretty sparse. Publicity for it wasn't as good as usual - things just sort of fell through the cracks. And it was on, off, on again. But those of us who were there had a good time. And we did have a couple of people who were lost and wandered in - and they were delighted with what they found.

And now we start on a holiday week, shopping and cooking and figuring out when everybody is coming and going, etc., etc. Just the usual chaos.

Today's photo is more fall foliage from Shiloh National Military Park.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Saturday's entry

This was written Saturday night, but, for some reason, I couldn't get connected to the internet. This has happened a couple of times lately. It's not just my laptop, the desktop does it, too. Wonder what's up with the server??? Anyhow, here the Saturday blog.

Today was a glorious fall day here. Unfortunately, we didn't take full advantage of it - mainly did some cooking and catching up.

We did go to the basketball game tonight. It was a wonderfully exciting game, but our UTC Lady Mocs won 65-55 over the Clemson Lady Tigers. We actually beat an ACC team! Just a great evening, and OUR team won.

I seem to be a bit blank this evening, so I'll just put up more pictures today.

First is the River Explorer, our home for the river trip. Second is our view from the passengers' Pilot House on the boat. Third is some fall leaves from the Shiloh Battlefield at Savannah, TN.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Today was mostly a pretty normal Friday. Swimming, coffee, painting at Studio 2 (I even painted a few place cards), lunch, home, naps. We finished off the evening by going to the performance of the Chattanooga Symphony. And it was a wonderful program.

The opening number was by Peter Schickele, writing as P.D.Q.Bach. I hope you know about this man and his music. He's a fascinating combination of musical and comic genius. The piece Maestro Bernhardt chose was the "Unbegun Symphony", a musical conglomeration of themes and phrases of a myriad of other composers, and does "not contain a single original theme". It truly must be heard to be appreciated and chuckled over.

The second selection was by a 20th Century Argentine composer, Astor Piazzolla, "The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires". It's an intriguing, unusual composition, combining unusual sounds made by the strings with beautifully lyrical themes. The soloist, Benny Kim, was superb. This composer is definitely worth more listening.

After the intermission, the orchestra performed Franz Josef Hayden's "Symphony No. 104 in D Major, 'London'". This was a charming and lovely symphonic work - eminently listenable.

During the performance, I thought about the word, "orchestrate", as it is used as the answer to a clue in crossword or double crostic puzzles. The phrase usually used is something like "to work together" or "to combine harmoniously". You know how thought processes will jump from A to B to N 1/2 or some such. Anyhow, the thought occurred that government OUGHT to be working like an orchestra.

The Head of Government should be out front, guiding the whole group. Each part of the group has its own theme (or agenda), its own tone, its own high and low notes, its own sound, etc., etc., etc. It's the job and duty of the Maestro to gather all these disparate voices together. It's the job and duty of the voices to work together under the leadership of the Maestro. It's the job and duty of both to produce a beautiful, harmonius, and successful combination of efforts. The Maestro cannot accomplish the desired end by pushing and threatening, but only by leading. The players cannot accomplish the desired end unless they agree to work together. All must have respect for one another and for each one's role in the production.

Why can't government work like an orchestra?

Today's picture is of morning fog on the Cumberland River.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Creativity and Children

I think Fall has finally arrived. It was 35 at 11 p.m. tonight. Oh, joy! I am glad to finally see some cold weather and a frost. That should finally take care of the pollen and the bugs. The bad news of the cold front was that it spawned a tornado in the neighboring town of Kimball, with a great deal of property damage and displacement of families. The good news is that there were no fatalities. And we finally got a good rain.

Today was pretty much back to normal. I had a long list of errands - some done and some not. It took about 10 minutes to get my car inspected, and the license plate renewal has been done on-line. (Aren't computers wonderful?!?!) Wal-Mart was next - always a thrill! I went to the Verizon store to see about getting a new phone, and they suggested that I do it on-line. It would be cheaper and I'd have more choices. I've looked at the site, and promptly went into overload - there were way too many choices. How to choose. Sigh....

We had our usual Thursday lunch with our strangely creative friends - or is that our creative strange friends. No matter, we always have a lot of laughs and good fun. Photo Society was tonight, and it was good to see our friends from that area. The program was excellent. People can be creative in so many different ways.

Note from Houston: While driving through the Texas Medical Center, I saw a sign on a building that said "Texas Children's Maternity Hospital". WHAT???? We would not come with an plausible explanation. I finally remembered today to look at the web site to find out. Here's what it says:

The new Texas Children's Maternity Center will provide the finest prenatal, obstetric and related services to women and perinatal care for their babies in a new state-of-the-art facility slated to open in 2010.
Once fully operational, Texas Children's Maternity Center will care for both normal and high-risk deliveries. Pediatric intensive care units in the new center will provide seamless care of mother and newborn. Care of mothers and infants requiring a pediatric specialist can then be coordinated under the auspices of one institution—Texas Children's Hospital.

Now I understand. But I still think it's a very unfortunate choice of names. What do you think?

Today's photo: How can I pass up these precious Hungarian children?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Weather and Rivers

Weather is always news. A really strong line of thunderstorms went through Tennessee tonight. A possible tornado hit at Kimball, TN, just west of here, with lots of damage, but fortunately, no fatalities. The storms hit downtown Chattanooga pretty hard. We were on the edge of the worst part of the storm, and just got a lot of rain and some wind. The 2" of rain we got are most welcome.

Our trip last week on the River Explorer (Riverbarge Excursion Lines - was all we had hoped. We boarded the vessel in downtown Nashville on Tuesday and headed down the Cumberland River that evening. Turning this 700-foot-long vessel around just below Nashville is quite a feat of seamanship - and our captain did it in the dark!

This trip was just as good as the first Riverbarge trip we took two years ago. We had lots of lovely morning fog to watch. Well, we enjoyed it, but the captain, I'm sure, wasn't too happy to have to deal with it during the night and in the early hours. This trip went down the Cumberland River almost to the Ohio, through the Barkley Canal to the Tennessee River, and then up the Tennessee to Florence, AL. By the return trip, we were beginning to see more fall color along the riverbanks.

We stopped at Savannah, TN, for a bus tour of the Shiloh Battlefield. It is a beautiful, but sad place - with the knowledge of all those lost lives on this ground. The stop in Florence, AL, included a bus to Helen Keller's home, Ivy Green, and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. We had seen those two places on our trip in August on the Delta Queen, so we passed on that trip. Instead, we took a taxi to the Rosenbaum House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. We had seen that before, too, but this time, we had the docent all to ourselves. She gave us a great deal of information, then left us alone to wander around by ouselves. It was great!

The last stop was at Clarksville, TN, on the return. Kate came down to the boat for lunch and to visit with us for a while. That was a special treat. We got back to Nashville about noon on Monday. We had planned to spend some time with Jean (where we had left our car), but we decided we'd head on home then, instead of waiting for the official trip ending on Tuesday after breakfast. We hated missing that good visiting, but we were really tired and just wanted to get home. Jean came to get us, we took her home, and we headed back.

We can't recommend the Riverbarge highly enough. This is a great experience, great staff, great crew, great office staff - just a super company to work with

Today's pictures are of the River Explorer and John in the Pilot House. Mostly we spent our time sitting in the Pilot House at the bow of the upper deck, watching the river go by.

You can't go home again

Who says you can't go home again? Well, I guess it depends on what you're looking for.

We went to Houston earlier this month for my college class' 50th reunion. It was a great weekend, and I did enjoy seeing folks that I hadn't seen in all those years. There was certainly no question of how old everybody was. We're close friends with only one of the couples since that time, but have seen and enjoyed several others along the way. But it was fun to share memories and fun times with the fellow students that I hadn't seen for over 50 years - and to learn what's happened to them in the meantime.

Of course, when you haven't lived in a city for 45 years, things have changed a lots. Roads are moved, started, and stopped; businesses come and go; nothing looks as you remember it. We drove by the houses where we spent our high school and college years. Guess what?!? They weren't there. I grew up in a modest home, built just after WW2; 3 BR, 1 bath, LR, DR, kitchen, attached garage, medium-sized lot. It was new when we moved in, and my mother lived there until she retired and moved to TN in 1972. John's family moved in a few years later, in a slightly larger house, in a slightly more expensive neighborhood.

Both houses are gone, mine torn down along with the neighboring houses, replaced by 2-story, narrow, very close together houses. John's house and the house next door to it were torn down and replaced by a MacMansion. All that remains is the tree that he planted in the front yard in 1951.

Such is life.

Photos today are of where our growing-up houses are no more.

p.s. Sorry to be late posting today. For some reason, I couldn't get hooked up to the internet last night.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Home again (again)

Hi folks, we came on home this afternoon - a bit early, but we were just ready for home (for a change). This was a great trip - the Cumberland and the Tennessee are beautiful rivers, and seeing them "up close and personal" at 10 miles/hour or less is just awesome! The staterooms are very comfortable, and the staff and crew are the best anywhere. We can't recommend the RiverBarge highly enough. Click here ( ) for the web site.

My reunion in Houston was fun. I did enjoy talking to some of the folks we hadn't seen for 50 years, and also the ones we had seen in the interim. Houston has grown so much since we lived there that nothing looks familiar. The houses that John and I grew up in have both been torn down and replaced by a huge MacMansion (his) and townhouses (mine). Oh, well......

I'm off to bed, and will try to get some pictures by tomorrow.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Lots of stuff to get done today. We found out our answering machine had broken, so John got us a new telephone/answering machine when he went for his walk. We got that set up and have already gotten a message, so we know it works.

Our Thursday Lunch Bunch was fun, as always. Then home to finish up the laundry and see how the packing works out. Amazingly, I think it's all going to settle out the way we had hoped. Packing for two separate trips at one time, with basically two separate wardrobes, is certainly a challenge. We'll find out how good a job we did.

The Lady Mocs played their first basketball game tonight - an exhibition game with Lee University (Cleveland, TN). Lee stayed with us for the first half, but couldn't keep it up through the second half. The final score was 81-49. The Lady Mocs were looking good through the second half, and the freshmen even got some playing time.

We'll be heading out of town early in the morning for 10 days. I'm hoping for computer access at least part of the time, but I may have to miss posting from time to time. Bear with me, and keep checking in.

Today photo is one of John's - apple trees in Colorado last May.

Happy Halloween!

What sort of memories do you have of Halloween? When we grew up in St. Louis just before and during WW2, we dressed up in costumes and went to neighborhood houses. I don't remember "Trick or Treat", though. As I remember, the kids got up skits or small performances - singing, reciting, dancing, whatever - and the folks of the house gave out treats for those. The first time I remember hearing Trick or Treat was when we had children in Tennessee and they got old enough to make the rounds on Halloween.

We lived in a neighborhood where every house had a bunch of young children, so our streets were full that night, with kids going door to door, begging for candy. We lived in a split-foyer house, so we spent a lot of time running up and down the stairs, getting to the door.

Our girls were grown and gone when things started getting crazy, and this innocent fun and evening of gorging on sweets became dangerous. Hospitals started offering free x-rays of candy, so that parents could be sure no metallic substances had been injected into the items. Then all candy was individually packaged in single servings. Parents followed their kids all around the neighborhoods.

Another glitch was then Halloween fell on a Sunday. Was it "proper" to do this on a Sunday???? A "natural" outcome from that was - well, golly, maybe Halloween is devil-worship and maybe kids shouldn't be doing it at all. Holy cow!!

And now, this fun night for children has become totally organized and sanitized. Kids are taken to church parking lots for "Trunk or Treat"; or to the mall to walk to various stores for treats. And I've read that adults spend more money on Halloween than on any other holiday except for Christmas.

Tonight, we had one 12-year-old girl, accompanied by her dad, come to our door. And we have a lot of left-over candy.

Today's photo is of some children running and playing in Budapest.