Sunday, October 31, 2021

 


“It was a dark and stormy night…” Of course, everything is this time of year, but for some reason this year is a bit spookier. Perhaps it is the rain and the early dark causing us to skitter into our houses, or back out into the night. For me, I skitter back out into the night during this season often with a dark cape around my shoulders or a pointed hat upon my head. Okay, sometimes it is just a cool, fun sweatshirt, but it is Halloween, and I am open to all of it.

Poe Night came and went with a blazing fire, and with mingled voices of the community and Trine University students. It is amazing for me to think that a man, Edgar Allan Poe, could be celebrated in a little northern Indiana town 172 years after his death. Not only did we read the works of Poe, but we had a scholarly vision of the man who we still see as the father of macabre. I am always proud of my students for exchanging the engineering hats to read poetry! They are all amazed too as one student said, “I had no idea it would be so fun. Can I do it next year again?” I love it when that happens.

A few nights later, as the rain began once again, Lola and I found ourselves weaving through the back gate of the Cline Museum. It was dark and grey as I meandered through the yard and up the back steps. Stepping into the Cline Museum is like turning the clock back 150 years. This time the ghostly collaboration was put on by the Steuben County Historical Society and the Historic Preservation Commission. Then event was to be held outside until the gray October skies opened up, so quickly all was moved inside. Arriving early gave me a chance to tour the old house without much commotion. Inside the Dr.’s office was the creepiest mannequin. It looked so real, and I expected him to turn around and look at me any moment. I couldn’t help myself but to look over my shoulder at him every now and again.

With a full house, Hope Wilson and Heather Burkett put on a haunting show of buildings that used to be once upon a time. The research was scholarly, the photos were eerie and with rain pelting one could only imagine this little town of us long ago. I was honored to read a few of the stories about my favorite prominent folks…the Gales, the Gilmores, and the Hendrys. Most of the ghostly buildings were lost to fire as the structures were wooden. But some magnificent architectural structures were simply torn down to make room for something new. Hopefully, with historic preservation, some of this can be halted to keep the history in our town. You missed the show? Perhaps we will do it again. It is always good to know where we live, and how we all got here.

I stayed to help put away chairs, and divvy up the extra Halloween candy. With one last look at the staircase (really, what was I thinking would happen???), and one last glimpse of the good doctor still sitting, much like The Raven, we shut out the lights and headed out into the gloom of night. I was glad to get home to my cheery old house, put on the lights and my electric fireplace (I can imagine it’s real, right?) and put on the kettle.

Ah, but not all is over. Today our town is bursting with events. Don’t stay home on this day. Come on out to Pokagon for fun events all day long. I will be telling “grown up” stories at the CCC at 1:30. Or spend your day in town at the festival complete with a hay maze and plenty of music, if you feel like dancing in the street.

The costume contest is once again our favorite. Please meet in front of The Brokaw Movie House. Registration begins at 3:30 and the contest is at 4. There is a category for all ages from 0-100! Everyone can participate.

After all the events, let the littles (and the bigs) commence to trick-or-treating. My old house is full of treats so bring them on by so I can fill up their bags.

It is Halloween week-end, and nothing, but nothing is as fun as being in town for the festivities. See you around the square.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Lifting the Covid Fog....

 I had a dream this week about websites. That truly is uninspiring and not hardly the essence of beautiful and lovely dreams. Perhaps it was more of a nightmare than a dream. When I woke I had this eerie feeling (well, it is October) about websites and mine more specifically. In the dark dawn of morning I headed into my studio to check out my own blogger website. It felt strangely familiar, yet not so much. First of all, I needed a new password, and I don’t remember ever even needing a password for my blog site. I just automatically logged on. Well, that took a few moments as I had to go back and forth between blogger and email to establish a new password. Then, just like that, I was connected. It looked vaguely familiar, yet oddly, not familiar. As I began to read through my daily blog, I realized my last entry was March 17, 2020. The truth is, I could not believe that. I mean I have kept up this blog for over fifteen years almost on a daily basis. I love my blog site. I post my travel, my stories, my adventures. I post events in town, poetry, opportunities, thoughts (rather deep thoughts), yet here it was staring me right in the face, March 17, 2020. The last entry was the story of Carolyn and me deciding to stay home from ukulele camp as this Covid event was somewhere…doing something. There is a photo of the two of us and how sad we were not to go. It was also light-hearted making light of washing our hands and taking care.

There was no mention of masks, of school closing, of life coming to a standstill. Yet my blog came to a standstill, and I have not thought of it once since that date. That is so odd. I have thought of everything else.

How deeply have we been affected by this virus that I did not notice my outdated blog for over a year and a half? What happened to my own brain…the brain I think is still pretty good. It wasn’t that I came down with the virus. I did not. It wasn’t that my life completely stood still. It did not. But where did the shut down occur, and did this happen to you also? And, if so, how do we come out of this Covid fog all these months later?

I thought I knew all the answers to these questions. I mean, I have been vaccinated and had the booster shot. I had my first house party last week, I teach my classes, I even  had some storytelling events. (Okay, not many, but a few live events!)

How long is it before the dark cloud of Covid is finally released? Or, I wonder, will it ever be? Will we be changed forever?

The only actual value I see of the big “P” is that perhaps from now on, when we are sick and around folks, we will wear a mask. To that effect, I have washed all my twenty masks and found a place for them in a dark, distant drawer. Okay, to be honest, a few remain out for trips to town or when friends need the reassurance of a mask to spend some time together. I do try to remember to wear my mask to Aldi’s or CVS or into a restaurant before being seated. I often ask now if a mask is required or preferred. I will, of course, honor that as we move forward.

But now, of course, there is that problem with my blog site. Where do I start? I have taken hundreds of photos, written dozens of columns and stories, and even had as many events in this past year and a half. Do I just start over as if March 17, 2020 were yesterday, and today is mid-October, 2021? Do I make an apology? Will anyone even come back to reading my blog after this hiatus? Or do I just close it out as a fun writing chapter of my life and move on? I mean, I never even missed it or thought about it until my dream this week.

And what about you? What have you totally forgotten about?  Is something just now surfacing as some kind of reminder of how it was in the “olden days”?

The “olden days” were just a year and a half ago…but oh it does seem so long ago.  

Published first in KPC, October 17,2021