Monday, October 31, 2011
First off... I need a name for this pumpkin with a tin foil hat. Yes, a tin foil hat should give you a HUGE hint as to what I'm looking for in a name.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because it recalls memories of my dad indulging me in my wildest fancies of costumes, be it transforming an old blue sweatshirt into a superman costume, or helping me to transform into Henry VIII (although I was a scrawny King of England). But his speciality was to take my intricate jack o'lantern designs and make them come to life. Nothing was too outrageous or too complicated for his carving work. And so it was with great pleasure during the last years of his life, when he was right arm was paralyzed and he was unable to create a jack o'lantern, that I would carry a table, newspapers and knives to his assisted living facility to carve a pumpkin for him. We'd talk over what kind of face he wanted, and I would go to work. He'd watch me as I would prattle on about whatever. And I'd check in with him to make sure I was "doing this right." In the end, he smiled and complimented me on my art work. I used to like him to make scary-faced pumpkins. But living in "the home", his preference was to have a smiley-faced gourd.
It's appropriate I think to reminiscence about such things at this time of year. For the pagans, this is one of their highest of holy days--Samhain--where the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest and there is much communing with the ancestors. Not surprisingly, Christians also celebrate this time of year with All Saints Day tomorrow and remembering all those who have died in the past year. We hold their lives up in commemoration of their passing and in the hope that one day we, too, will be marching with them and all the company of heaven.
There is comfort in remembering the times of fun I had with my dad, both as a child and as an adult. But I don't believe his spirit dwells that close to me as if he were in some parallel universe with just a thin curtain separating us. At this point, the markers of my dad are the ones that are in my mind and heart as well as one-half of my DNA. My father's spirit, I believe, has ascended to some height and a new dimension of life that I can't even begin to understand and explain. I suppose that is part of the mystery. And I can wait to have that riddle unfold later.
Now, what are we gonna call that pumpkin?