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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Sunday, October 30


Why is Gertie the witch unable to have any children? Because her husband Igor has a hollow weenie.

Yes, it’s nearly that time of year again, that dreadful evening called Halloween. Today is October 30, Halloween Eve, so I’m a day ahead of that dreaded evening, but I feel it’s necessary to get a one day jump on it. It seems that most Americans don’t regard this event as dreadful. For most it’s a festive occasion, for adults as well as children. Think of the money spent on candy and costumes, of the costume parties, of the house decorations that spring to life each October. Am I the only one who dislikes this day? I was never a fan of it when I was a young boy. In fact, I’m not sure in those days so long ago that any children went out trick-or-treating, at least not in the small Midwestern town where I grew up. And if we did, the costumes were probably all homemade, with most of us dressed as hobos. These were Depression days and we were Depression kids. It didn’t take much of a wardrobe change to turn us into hobos. Maybe all we had other than old clothes was that kerchief tied to the end of a stick.

Why did that stick and kerchief almost always designate the one who carried it to be a hobo? I go to the Net, that wonderful source of all information and knowledge, and find that the stick with cloth attached is called a bindlestiff (corruption from German—bundle and stick) and sometimes the one who carries such a stick and bundle is also called a bindlestiff. How could I bear to live without knowing that about hobos?

I do remember going to a Halloween party once where we all bobbed for apples, but I don’t think we were costumed and I don’t think we ate a bunch of candy. Most of our parents back then didn’t have enough money to spend on candy giveaways. Apples, yes, candy, no. And there was probably more tricking than treating back then, with a bar of soap the prime instrument for soaping windows and cars. As an adult, when I began my teaching career, I always feared that some disgruntled student would egg my house. Soap on a window is easily removed, but an egg on house paint is disastrous. The egging never happened but I always feared it. And every year as the end of October neared, I would grow more and more uneasy. Now, however, my wife and I live in a retirement community and no little bindlestiffs ever come knocking on our door. And no disgruntled kid ever eggs our house. I wonder how many Trump masks will be sold this year. Now, that would be costume enough to scare me out of my wits.
Oh, wait a minute, the man himself scares me out of my wits.
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