Walking down the street on Halloween night, all the kids were dressed in their costumes. Everything appeared as normal. We walked house-to-house in hopes of finding the biggest and best candy bar.
With sore feet, numb fingers, and a runny nose I was determined to accomplish my mission. Would it be a king size snickers, a jumbo kit-kat, or perhaps a full sized twix? I was ready to push through the exhaustion, cold, and pain to find out what waits for me at the next porch light.
Conjuring my deepest breath, I yelled, “Trick or treat!” and waited. After what felt like years, a lady who must have been 200 years old answered the door. I feared for her. I was scared to death that Halloween was too much for her. I thought the act of reaching in a bag of candy and handing it outside would be the cause of her demise.
I gulped as she passed me the orange and black wrapped candy. I have never tried one of those things in my life but they never looked appealing. I wanted to tell her not to bother, but guilt flooded through me as I had already forced her to get up out of her rocking chair or perhaps coma. I took the candy and being careful not to run in case the wind from my speed could knock her over, I teetered off her front porch until I made it to the road.
I glanced at my dad as I finally approached him. He smiled at me and asked me if I had said thank you. I nodded, ready to get the heck on out of there. Seeing the look on my face dad asked me what’s the matter.
I explained that the lady appeared to be on her last limb, keeping it nice of course. Dad agreed. Then he smiled and patted my back. I glanced up at him with a confused look, noticing his sentiment.
“What is it, Dad?”
“I want you to remember something, son. As much as you don’t like that candy, or you fear going to her house, I want you to know you just made her life that much better. The elderly get forgotten far too often. They become lonely. People feel too ‘fast’ for them or as if they are going to hurt them. Family are too busy to come around. They need love too. It’s amazing what a day like Halloween does for them.”
“The candy looks gross.”
“Have you ever tried it? Just because it doesn’t come in a fancy package doesn’t mean it isn’t good.”
“Way. I bet you a dollar. Taste one.”
Slowly, carefully, but definitely with judgement, I tore the wrapper off one of those disgusting looking candies and scowled at it.
I sighed and then shoved the thing in my mouth. It tasted like peanut butter taffy. Though it wasn’t my favorite, there was a unique satisfaction that came from that tan piece of candy. I looked at my dad in wonder. How could he have possibly known such a thing?
My dad smiled at me and nodded. “I told you. One day you’re going to be old. You’ll pass out candy from your childhood that you loved. Kids will be impatient, family visits will be far and few between, and days like today will be your absolute favorite. Forever son, embrace the elderly. You can learn a lot from them!”
That Halloween night, I had learned one of my most valuable lessons.