Halloween is the easiest holiday to love!
(“Yes, a holiday!” I reiterate to my spouse, who by now is apoplectic over the extravagance of my celebration. Lol! )
Candy, color, magic. Excesses of sugar and laughter. . . . what’s not to love? In looking through my photo albums, I was not at all surprised to find that Halloween pictures dominated all others, burying with sheer numbers all summer vacations and Easter egg hunts combined. But there’s just something wonderful and expectant about dressing up and dashing off into the night to collect Hershey’s kisses, isn’t there?
And so, I wanted to share these snippets of our Halloween life with you, along with some excerpts from a guest blog I did with my publisher. Enjoy!
"Begin with the candles. Four of them in yellow Dollar Store jars, one for each child and one for myself...Light shimmers from slanted eyes, fracturing on fangs and waggly eyebrows."
"The village is alive – a glorious noise of shrieks and laughter, smell of smoke and a thousand bobbing glo sticks. Clowns and mermaids are a blur of color, sneakers beating a tattoo on the sidewalk brick, ghosts pale as luna moths keeping pace seemingly without feet."'
"We climb the cemetery steps, seventy-seven of them in full darkness, picking our way over the broken spots.... Tombstones are rounded as old teeth in the narrow moonlight, live oaks so fat we can’t reach around them even if we all hold hands.
No flashlights, because we are brave and wonderful tonight."
"Candy candy candy. Chocolate and gummies and caramel apples and popcorn. We are sticky-chinned and bright-eyed and willing to wring every wonderful moment from this gorgeous evening because we know. We know that it passes, and then it takes a year to get it back."
“The patient was in the basement.” I say to my kids – just enough information to color my day without violating Hipaa. “Kinda big fellow. In a garden tub.”
Or: “I had a blood exposure. Not a little, a lot.” (I’m wearing the hospital scrubs I came home in while I explain this.)
Or what about – “My partner slipped in the pukey-goop and cracked his head and then we had two patients.”?
“Ugh, Mom! Tell me again why you want to do this?”
I’m fairly certain it has to do with the vehicles. When you’re rolling full-out lights and sirens, yours is, hands-down, the prettiest vehicle on the road. You look like Christmas sailing down the fast lane, all lit up and shiny.
Or the clothing? EMS pants are the best, all those pockets and snaps – what’s not to love? Combat boots and sky blue coats with reflective lettering. And don’t get me started on bunker gear. It’s like a superhero cape, only real.
Down time is almost as good as up time! Read a book, play on your lap top, lift weights, wash the rig. Or not! Twelve hour shifts are spent with your good buds. We share coffee cups, couch space, and each other’s lives.
The adrenaline rush. We can go from zero to a hundred in seconds flat, from a dead sleep to the rig before the second page. I love that about us.
We brought a kitty out of a burning house last winter and although that’s a tired cliché, in real life it’s an awesome save. The homeowner quit crying and actually smiled.
And once after a bad call – one that had the worst possible outcome – my partner and I made chocolate chip cookies; that was a consolation without words.
“It’s a little hard to pin,” I say to my kids. “But sometimes the itty-bitty things add up to a really superb whole.”
I gave my blog over to a couple of my characters today to better address the issue of 911 Next Generation. This is Delilah’s first “Cop’s Kids” blog, and Bobby is her guest of honor. Let her know how you think she’s doing!
I’m Delilah’s first victim. She’s managing a blog called “Cop’s Kid” and I’m her opening guest. “What the hell is a blog?” I say. “Sounds like something you slop down your front at the truck stop.”
“It’s just little diary entries about your life.” She doesn’t look up from her keyboard; her fingers are doing a crazed hunt and peck pattern.
“Nobody wants to know about that. Why don’t you talk about something important?”
“911. You can’t text it.”
The fingers flutter and pause. “Of course you can. And besides, lame-o.”
Delilah is fifteen. That’s the problem.
“Your local dispatch center isn’t set up to receive texts. Or pictures. Or blogs.” I tap her head with my knuckles.
“Shut up!” She swats at me. “What happens if I send one?”
“Poof, it’s gone. How the hell do I know? But they don’t get it, okay?”
“Seems like this should be national news so we all quit making mistakes.”
“You don’t know the half of it, baby.” She’s got a picture of me up on her screen, looking tough behind my Ray Bans. Ha. “Your generation screws up the call all the time.”
“Because we feel entitled and we have too much. Blah-blah, what else is new?”
“You call for help on your little cell phones and fail to give an address or leave a call back number.”
“Aren’t you supposed to figure all that out?”
Delilah is an honors student. Scary, ain’t it?
“The best the dispatcher can do is to triangulate to the nearest tower. Which in your case is four miles away just outside Wapsi.”
“Not. Just give them your address.”
“My address is like a million digits long, thanks to you people.”
Wow. Really? And this from a cop’s daughter.
“It’s actually simple,” I tell her. “The roads are set up and numbered in a grid pattern, starting with 00 on the south and on the east and working up from there.”
She’s stopped typing and her face is crinkled in consternation.
“Or you can just read the number on the blue sign in your yard.”
“Bite me,” she says. The fingers are tripping again; she’s brought a county 911 map up already. “All right, I see what you’re saying. But if I use my GPS I don’t need to know any of this.”
“Until it fails.”
I give up. “What did you want to talk about?” I say.
“Nothing, I’ve got enough now.”
Trouble with girls that age? You can never tell if they’re pissed or just preoccupied.
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