Halloween night back then

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Back when I was young, there were no Halloween costumes for which to shop. No superstores, no online shopping.

Halloween was then, quite quaint.

We made our own costumes, or more truthfully, mom did. A ghoulie was dressed in tattered old clothes, with white flour caked on the face, a ghost was an old white sheet with holes cut out to see. A witch was a black dress and cape, a straggly wig, and a broom. A pirate was a pair of cut-off khaki pants, a torn plaid shirt, a bandana, and an eye patch.

Back then you’d find a cowboy or Indian, not now.

Houses were closer together back then. Mr. Levitt designed them like that, for convenience I imagine. There were rows of houses and scores of kids who poured outat dusk, when the shadows lengthened. Kids gathering in groups of six to ten, and swarming like a flock of swallows, or worse, like a biblical plague, lighting for a moment at one door then the next.

Your favorite candy was always a Hershey or a Mars bar and if you were lucky, you got the really big bar, not the pop-in-your-mouth kind they sell at stores by the bag full. Stories spread quickly of who had the best and likewise who had the worst. Steer clear of the penny candy and the mean guy who flicked his finger with a snap in the paper bag we carried, he pretending he was giving when really he wasn’t.

And who doesn’t remember the brown bag, loaded with loot, ripping and tearing, candy showering all over the lawn? The mad dash of dirty dogs to grab what they could.

Back then, Halloween lasted for days.

Back then, when I was young, we played pranks. No, not the overturned outhouse that our parents claimed they did. Our trick was the tiny brown bag with a fresh dog turd, lit on fire, left at the door step, set aflame, door bell rung, and, quick, flee into the dark. Did we really do this or was it all a big dream.

Back then, Halloween was just for kids. Parents stayed at home, tending the fire in the hearth, stirring the chili in the pot, and listening from a tune from Fantasia, no doubt Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain; praying and hoping their neighbor’s trees would be draped in toilet paper come All Saints Day morn.

Not their own.

And we kids, when we were done, took our loot to our rooms and our beds, separating our candy, gloating with brothers and sisters over who had the best and who had the worst. Tired as we were, we stayed up late in the night, until dad thundered, enough fun, lights out!

Under the covers, head on the pillow, before we slipped into slumber, we uttered one final prayer:

 

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

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Bob Dylan

The 2016 Nobel prize for literature is awarded to Bob Dylan

 
Where has he been keeping himself?
Will he accept? Will he show up?
What will he say?
Tomorrow is, after all, just another day.

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If he does, will he wear a tux,
Whispering under his breath, aw shucks.
Or, will he just sit in the hall,
Watching it all.

Don’t think twice,
Ain’t no use wondering,
Whatever Bob does,
It’s more than alright.
It’s quite nice.

Autumn leaves

reno-chair
Reno recliner

Autumn comes
Too complacently
Unlike my dreams
Of you and I
Oh, these many years
And still I feel
Like Spring

For every leaf’s a flower
And now I wait impatiently
Until the very hour
When Spring
Will come again

When tulips bloom
Beside the river bank
And two lips meet two lips
Beneath the willow tree

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tulip image courtesy of cocoparisienne and pixabay

Give Peace a Chance

All I want in the morning is a hot cup of coffee and Peace.

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Stressless Peace recliner, Signature base

Peace is a stylish Stressless recliner with a touch of modern details. The uniquely shaped back adapts to your spine and provides just the right amount of support. The Signature base adds the patented BalanceAdapt  technology that will gently rock your body as you move. Also, the Classic base with its hourglass shaped base.

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Peace recliner, Classic base

 

Why not give Peace a chance at Traditions Home. You’ll love it.

P.S. we serve coffee.

Traditions at Home

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Amiens, France

Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.
Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth

 

Let me go where no tourist goes. There I will find what is truly France.

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Amiens. Saint-Leu

These days it is hard to travel without running into fellow travelers. Cars, trains, and planes have all made travel to foreign countries easy. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy swapping stories with my English mates, American buddies from back home, and the occasional Aussie, the less frequent New Zealander and South African.

Amiens was a pleasant surprise. Amiens, pronounced “Ah-mee-on.”* Compact enough to walk, better to bike, Amiens is a gem of green gardens and quaint cafes, of ordinary French going about their daily lives.

Mes aimes, Ameniois ils s’appellent eux-mêmes.

Amiénois, they call themselves.

My friends, a little French goes a long way to make a friend in France. And if one makes a mistake in trying, all the better to becoming better friends and learning little by little.

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Amiens park

Amiens was pleasant, nice enough for Jules Verne Jules Verne and his wife Honorine and  to make it their home in 1882. It was just two blocks from the charming hotel where I stayed. Not a hotel really, but a bed and breakfast run by a most helpful couple who converted their three story flat and courtyard into an upscale place to stay. No air conditioning, but who needs it when the evenings are cool and one can leave the window open at night. No elevator, but again one is here to live the way the French do. A charming dining area, a pleasant courtyard, gracious hosts, who can ask for more.

 

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The city is capital of the Somme Department (destination of those wishing to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle of the same name) and part of Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie (if you are a Sakespeare fan, not far from Agincourt). It is known for its floating gardens; its cathedral, the largest Gothic church in France (don’t miss the evening illumination of the cathedral); its Christmas market; a lovely park where you can still catch “boaters” sailing their powered craft across the lake to the delight of children; and of course, its food, “pâté de canard d’Amiens”, duck pate in pastry, and its sweets, “macarons d’Amiens”, half biscuit, half cookie; “tuiles amienoises”, chocolate and orange curved treats.

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Amiens Cathedral

Two things to surprise you about Amiens – first, the best restaurant and the one the locals eat at is the Brasserie Jules, near the train station and far from Saint-Leu where the tourists gather. Seafood is what you want. Second is the Amiens cathedral. Impressive on the outside, on the inside it is immense. Then what is truly surprising is the illuminated show in the evening. One comes to find out that the cathedral was originally painted in vibrant colors an hues. Over the hundreds of years the colors washed away, but for 2o minutes each evening, a light show recreates the look.

There is so much to take in. And, if you have the time, bring a book and spend an afternoon in the park reading, or in a lovely café along the river, drinking café au lait and eating a macaron.

The book – something by Jules Verne, who made Amiens his home. My choice – Around the World in 80 Days.

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Around the World

* The French hardly ever pronounce the “s” at the end of a word. That is unless the following word begins with a vowel, in which case, the “s” gets added to the following word.

Back to school supplies

 

 

The kids are up early, fed, and ready to go.

“Honey, what day is it?” he asks.

“Hooray, it is Back-to-School Day!” she says.

“How are we going to celebrate?” he asks.

“Stresslessly!”

 

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Celebrate Back-to-school Day

The end of August means back to school.

Today, kids are sentenced to 9 months of reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic; and, let’s hope, a topic that will prepare the little tykes to take over when parents are ready for the easy chair. It is time to think about how we are going to pay for those college years.

Back-to-School Day, what a relief.

Super-moms and Super-dads celebrate the day Stresslessly.

Find your favorite school supply, a Stressless recliner at Traditions Home

 

Serenity of mind

There is certainly something in angling … that tends to produce a gentleness of spirit, and a serenity of the mind.
Washington Irving

 

 

The thought is from Irving’s Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.. In a short story titled The Angler he is commenting upon Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler. The story teller is “taking a morning’s stroll along the banks of the Alun, a beautiful little stream which flows down from the Welsh hills and throws itself into the Dee” when he comes upon a veteran angler and two friends…

 

 

The Sketch Book, as it is popularly called, also contains Irving’s beloved tales of Rip Van Winkle and the scary ride of Ichabod Crane.

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Fishing at Lake Cazenovia (Lake Kaz)

 

And when I am done, I will come home to my Stressless Opal recliner. I will sit and relax and relive the fading moments of the glorious day with Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler.

 

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Stressless Opal recliner

 

Irving’s The Sketch Book online.