Colby did not want to trick-or-treat this year.
I didn’t push it, knowing that the more I pushed and cajoled, the more he would resist. And you know, trick-or-treating is kind of a pain in the ass, but I reallly wanted him to go. It wasn’t because of my overwhelming love of Halloween, but because in this new world of autonomy and music and girls and armpit hair (and an incredibly stressful election year) I wanted him to do something that allowed him to be a kid. Something silly and mindless and fun.
He finally decided, that tricky little monkey of mine, that he wanted to be Paul Bunyan. Then he told everyone that he was tricking me into buying him a new flannel shirt. One $12.99 LL Bean flannel later:
Then he and his cousin got the idea to go as Paul and Babe the Blue Ox. I was in heaven. Do you remember this book?
Our copy has a lot of miles on it, and it was the replacement for the copy I had as a child. Steven Kellog (of The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash fame) tells the Paul Bunyan tale with wit and pacing and verve. To boot, the illustrations are intricate and nuanced and are perfectly paired to the story. If you don’t own a copy, buy one now. Here are some of my favorite parts:
Paul Bunyan was the largest, smartest, and strongest baby ever born in the state of Maine.
He soon grew into a sturdy lad who was so quick on his feet he could blow out a candle and leap into bed before the room became dark.
And then there’s Babe the blue ox.
Both Paul and Babe began growing at an astonishing rate, but the ox never lost the color of the snow from which he’d been rescued.
He has seasonal affective disorder:
The blizzard continued for several years … the crew… hibernated. Babe became so depressed that Paul asked Ole to make a pair of sunglasses for his friend. When Babe saw the world colored green, he thought he’d stumbled into a field of clover.
So he ate all the snow.
At that point, all those pent-up springtimes simply exploded, dissolving the storm clouds and the remaining snow.
Sigh. And then the pancakes and the gumberoos and the canyon.
Sometimes his great bursts of laughter can be heard rumbling like distant thunder across the wild Alaskan mountain ranges where he and Babe still roam.
Anyway. I was happy to prolong the magic just one more year. We made pancakes and ate them standing up at the kitchen counter. My aunt and I tried to get the boys (one mine and one hers) ready, but it felt a lot like what I imagine herding wet cats would be like. The boys went out and maybe did more aimless walking around than trick-or-treating, I walked with another mother not necessarily trailing the kids, but you know, just being in the general area.
A quick note: I was the only teacher dressed up at work. I went as Medusa which no one thought was really a stretch, but it was awesome. Awesomer than being Medusa? Having post-Halloween dreads as a result.
I should have kept them in.