I walked across the street tonight, to get a closer look at a nostalgic Halloween sight and to chat with my neighbor Mary, who had worked with friends the entire afternoon to put it up.
There were no fancy seasonal blow-ups, no gruesome scenes of horror and blood shed, not even a fancy haunted house, with eerie music and lights. Instead, a small string of white lights framed a cozy fire pit and hundreds of carved Jack o'lanterns (only 50, but it looked to be that many) lead trick or treaters up to the fire area. I was irresistibly drawn in, not just to ask about the pumpkins, but because the scene was so homey, so welcoming and so utterly free of commercialism and store bought plastic.
The owner of the home, my neighbor Mary is like that. A move-in from Tennessee, she sports strawberry blond braids that almost touch her knees. She home schools her kids and her corner lot lacks backyard fences, her garden open to what ever nature or the neighborhood happens to bring her way.
She has absolutely the best vegetables around, and willing shares with whom ever passes by. She is the ultimate source of plant wisdom, and knows what and how to grow to get a good yield. Despite the fact that she lives in the city, Mary lives a life of simplicity that to me is enviable.
In this era of scarcity her resourcefulness should be copied. I found out that she got the pumpkins for free from her the throw away bins at the fruits stands on the highway. Except for the gas to pick up the pumpkins and the candles to light them she didn't pay a penny. Her friends and neighbors and their children, spent a fun time this afternoon, carving like crazy. So not only was the wonderful seasonal display almost cost free, so was a warm afternoon of creativity and friendship.
Mary's resourcefulness should be an example to all, that the simplest way to engage in traditions are often the most lasting and memorable. And that money doesn't have to be spent to decorate or entertain.
The picture is of my niece Jessica, carving her first pumpkin by herself.