First Time, Again
By Deannda L. Neufer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
November 3, 2000
When was the last time you were able to look at something like it was the first time? Something you had seen countless times before, but by some chance of fate were suddenly able to look at it like it was brand new again?
I had this chance this Halloween. I have been a part of more Halloweens than I care to admit. I remember as a child, running from house to house to house, collecting all that great candy and then running home to gorge on it and then hide the rest from my siblings.
I remember my daughter Melissa's first Halloween when she had figured out that these people were giving out free candy! WOW! She didn't care why, all she knew was that she had to ring the bell or knock on the door, say those magical words, "TRICK OR TREAT" and she was rewarded with something sweet for her pleasure! I remember Ellie's first year also. She was so excited, but then fell ill and I had to go with Melissa and tell people that she was home and could they please let her have some anyway (her words to me exactly)?
But that was a few years ago and the novelty has worn off. Halloween had become just another holiday to be dealt with and to get through without major injury or sugar highs. This year though I had the honor of introducing our holiday to a child that had never celebrated it before. Melissa's friend (whom we will call J.) is from India and this is her first year in America. Her family had no idea what to expect or what to do, so we invited J. to our house and tried to show her some of the fun involved in Halloween.
We carved pumpkins when we got home. Terry took the tops off and then we had to get the insides out of them. I just reached right in and started gutting them out. J. decided to do the same thing. The look on her face when she grabbed a handful of seeds and pulp was wonderful! So happy, yet grossed out at the same time! She loved it!
J.'s parents had no plans for the children on Halloween so I offered to take J. and her brothers to the fire station for the parade and then trick or treating with my girls. The parents loved this idea. So I picked up her brothers, the oldest one in sixth grade (M.) and another one just a year older than J. (A.) and off to the fire station we went.
The high school marching band led the parade and we fell in line behind them. I was wearing my official Fool Hat (thanks, TONY!) and carrying a Daffy Jester Scepter. We had a blast. We got hot dogs and pop from the firemen and then started the great journey into trick or treating. At first M. didn't want to go up to the doors. He was too cool for that, he was just there to make sure that A. and J. were okay. But when it dawned on him that he, too, could get candy just by saying those magical words, BAM! I couldn't get him a bag fast enough!
Tuesday night brought back the magic of seeing something for the first time again. To see it through the eyes of someone who had never experienced it before and to be able to guide them through the sometimes complicated maze. Only houses with lights on, only knock once, don't forget to say thank you, no running across lawns, no running across streets! Things that we take for granted. Much like when someone new comes to the boards at the Fool and asks a question that's been asked a million times before. We have to remember our first days on the boards and recall what it was like when we just started out. It's easy to lose patience with people and just say, "Oh, please, everyone knows that!" We need to be reminded that even though we may know it, the next new Fool might not.
Thank you J., A. and M. for reminding me just how fun Halloween can be and for everything I might take for granted, there are others who have no idea what awaits them.