31 October 2010

Fort Collins. It’s Halloween. Marty, Marlaina, Keegan and I enjoy a casual morning of coffee and breakfast and deeper discussion of life’s events. We haven’t seen each other in ten months, so there are formative events to review: school and teachers, parents and health, jobs and layoffs. It seems that no career is safe these days; even if a person has a job, invariably that job is affected by the loss of jobs everywhere else.

Marlaina works at home as an internet and telephone customer service rep. She keeps East Coast hours, which means she gets up early and is ‘on’ by 7am everyday. It is Marty’s duty to get Keegan to school before 9a MST. Because he is self-employed, he is afforded this flexibility. The standard is to ride bikes the mile or so to his public elementary school, after which Marty rides home and loads up for work. It is this work I intend to begin my photo essay with; tomorrow will be the day.

Because it is Sunday, there are no schedule obligations. We run a couple of errands: Office Depot for an inkjet cartridge, PetSmart for some dog food for my traveling companion, the grocery store for some necessary supplies. Because the weather is agreeable, all hands are on deck where the yard is concerned. Leaves are raked, weeds are pulled, some artful Halloween landscaping is put into effect. Because Marty has all the equipment and today we have extra hands, the neighbor’s yard gets a good raking, too. The senior man comes out to make conversation, and we learn that he has recently broken his arm. This makes him particularly appreciative of the gesture. Standing there in the driveway, he engages us with memories of post-war Newark, New Jersey and his exploits as a teenage adventurer. Keegan is all ears.

The neighborhood the Shults’ live in is very ‘Norman Rockwell.’ This makes for a satisfying Halloween night, trick-or-treaters in their regalia with parents chaperoning the gaggles of miniature Harry Potters, Robin Hoods, vampires, and other movie references of this generation. After a preliminary chili dinner for a few of the kids, it is a two hour trek to hit both sides of the block to collect as much candy as possible. I haven’t seen such a traditional Halloween in years, and I thoroughly enjoy myself.

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