HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - city of big bottoms and small minds.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

HALLOWEENS OF THE PAST

Another Halloween has come and gone without incident.

Oddly, we never get trick-or-treaters at 4896 Hobbs Road - I think it's because we have a long dark scary driveway. That, coupled with the fact that we never turn on the yard light ( rural term) sort of discourages them. Instead I sit around and stuff myself with miniature Baby Ruth and Butterfinger bars. Oinkety oink! When we lived at 2444 4th Street we got lots of little ghosts and goblins as we lived only within walking distance of Roosevelt School where the Kimster taught.

One summer day one of her little kindergartners came strolling through the house unannounced - I was taking a nap - Kim was gone - I awoke to the sound oF "tinkle" - disconcerting to say the least as I knew Kim was gone. So I got up and waited outside the bathroom door - out pops this little Hmong boy who just looks at me as he passes, says nothing, and leaves!

This led to locking doors.

Now that I think about it, we didn't much get involved in treat-or-treating as kids either. Living out on the country where the nearest neighbor was a goodly walk on a frosty night will quickly discourage such activity. Of course we all heard the stories at school from the city kids who went out and caused all manner of mischief in their respective neighborhoods.

One of the most frightening stories was about home owners who had shotguns loaded with rock salt and wouldn't hesitate to unload it into some miscreants fleeting posterior when warranted. I always tried to imagine just how much that would smart, having had salt enter a cut finger as a youth.

I do remember as a young adult living in Eau Claire hearing the story first hand from a friend of mine who, in the company of other friends of my acquaintance, delivered a steaming pile of fresh cow manure to the base of the Big Steer statue on North Hastings Way asw a Halloween prank.

At one point during my college career my room mates went out to Corky's bar on a Halloween night, consumed copious amounts of Walter's beer, and proceeded to steal a very heavy but obviously not anchored sign from a gas station at the top of Harding Avenue - or as the natives refer to it - "Plank Street Hill" - and tote it back to our second floor apartment at the far end of Madison Street.

I was awakened from deep sleep by the sound of giggling, cursing, and loud bumping, as they struggled to get the sign up the rickety wood steps to the apartment.

Two days later I find that their little escapade is listed in the police report. So here I am, not even a party to the crime, but in possession of stolen property.

The following night as my roomies are out of the apartment drinking again (I think it was their major) I took it upon myself to load the damn thing in my car - no small task even though it was all down hill on the steps - and return it to the gas station from whence it came. All the while I am at this task I have visions of being pulled over by the cops. When I reached the station, I pulled the car into the darkest of shadows and quickly unloaded it, my heart trying to pound its way out of my chest.

There was quite a row with the room mates when they found out what I did but I held firm and righteous. I just wish i could have seen the face of the station owner upon his arrival at work the following morning. The gas station is long gone now. I think there is a cheese house in its stead.

I think my all time favorite Halloween was the one when my now departed friend Gerald Fitzgerald and I put on navy jackets (as close as we were going to be in costuming) and went down town in a driving rain to watch the Packers trounce the Vikings on Monday Night Football.

It was shortly after the big scandal that occurred at a gathering of former naval airmen called The Tail Hook Club that's was all over the news. the Tail Hookers had engaged in sexual harrassment of young women.

Gerald's battle cry for the evening was "TAIL HOOK!"which he repeated as amantra all evening, even under the influence of tequila and many beers.

The Packers trounced the Vikings. it was the good old days with that Brett Favre guy.

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