Wednesday, October 31, 2007


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Ahh, Autumn! The leaves turn different colors (ok, I'm sure they do in Kansas!) and the weather gets a chill in the air ( Minnesota)and the minds of children turn to CANDY (THAT happens in California too!)Halloween, once my favorite time of year, is upon us again. I like to think of this day as being the start of the holidays, four of them in just about two months.
When I was younger, this day was my favorite. I would dress up the house, my car and myself. I'd spend way too much money on pumpkins, and decorations. Becoming a father has changed all that, the attention turned to the kids long ago. But that's the key phrase, long ago! Long ago I decorated up the front porch and myself as well. On the porch I had, among other scary things, a life-size dummy on a chair. I then dressed up as a Frankenstein monster and stood just in front of the porch as if I was tied to a stake. My older sister Suzy, came up on the porch saying "I know that's you, don't try to scare me!" Problem was, she was talking to the dummy in the chair. Wrong dummy! As she passed by me I just sorta reached out and grabbed her shoulder! My ears still ring from her scream!
When I was 12, I debated going trick or treating, thinking I was too "old" for this kind of stuff. At the last moment, I donned a Raiders football helmet, shoulder pads and a #42 jersey and Mike and I hit the neighborhood. If I remember correct, we had a pretty good haul of candy. Back then, most every house would have a light on. Tonight, in the exact same neighborhood, I'll take most of my kids out again to those same houses that Mike and I hit 34 years ago. A few of the residents will still be the same, but that number seems to shrink each year, as do the number of porch lights that will be on. My oldest now goes to "hang out" with his friends on Halloween, but rest assured his "hanging out" is much the same as when Mike, Yez and I would do on later Halloweens (altho I don't know if anyone is getting pushed into garbage cans! Remember that Mike? and Yez is STILL our friend!!). The rest of the kids will be hitting the streets with me, with Tyler having the same waffling I had my last time. While they're running up to each door, I'll be remembering when Mr. so and so used to live there, and Mrs. whatshername lived there and remembering all the great Halloweens I had growing up in this same neighborhood.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Just Keep Racking Em Up

Archie and I have been in a few parades with The San Joaquin Gunslingers over the past few months. The Gunslingers are a old west reenactment group that Archie and I are charter members in. The group started in Nov 2006 working at Cobb ranch ( you can learn about them here ) Over the past year we have been entered in some parades around the valley. The way it works is there is a group of us, anywhere from 8 to 15. Most of the group rides on a wagon while a few others ride horses. We all have six shooters that we shoot blanks from. Yep, real guns but safety is ALWAYS first! We load then buddy up and check the other persons load to make sure! And we NEVER point a gun at someone, instead pointing it around the ground near his feet. (OK mom, that should make you feel better!) So, back to Archie and I. Well sir, Archie and I don't ride anything in these parades! We walk the whole thing. Archie works one side of the street and I work the other. We play with the kids, swap hats with "the cool kids" (funny to see a future gang banger wearing a cowboy hat AND a big grin at the same time!) and get kisses on the cheek from the older ladies! We just have a ball doing this AND we're doing it together which means lots to me! Well we are on a streak, having finished in the top three in the last four parades we have entered! This may be sounding like Archie and I do all the work, but we don't. Archie and I ARE the fun part of the act. We are the ones interacting with the people and making them notice the group (although guys shooting guns is a pretty go way to be remembered too). All this being said, it all comes down to Father and Son, playing cowboy together, and what could be better than that!!