The Happy Fest of October 2017
All-Hallows’-Eve : The Celebration of Truth
It was a controversy: Halloween in the 1990s. Everything was a controversy back then, at least in California Suburbia, and especially in Public School Land. Religion was becoming so passé that the prudes dared not insist upon calling such things as Christmas “Christmas”. Oh, no. The word was met with dire stares and derision in the Public Square.
I’m no prude, and so I made it a public point to make an appointment with the Chief Bureaucrat of the “Neighborhood” Public Elementary School. The atheist principal of that government school smiled as she informed me that the Holiday was called the Winter Season because of “Separation of Church and State.”
Obviously, I was being taken once more for the Dumb Blonde, Dumb Cluck Mother that this supercilious woman was about to find out I am not. I made only 2 statements before walking out of that Principal’s Office, but I’ve always been terse when it comes to dealing with School Principals, even ones I like! I did not like this saccharinely sweet-smiling but sullen, pompous educrat, but I stayed on-message:
“There is no separation of church and State, but there is freedom of church from State intrusion. And if you insist on turning a sacred time of the year into a secular event, then you ought to hold your public school fundraiser at a time other than the 12 Days of Christmas to cash in on all of the good will of the Christians you so obviously disdain.”
I did not cancel my order for a lovely tin tray depicting a Victorian Christmas. I still own the thing. It has endured the decades much better than have the liberals and their assaults on freedom of . . . well, everything.
The term, Harvest Festival, remained intact and in-place in that Public School Venue. The words, Halloween, All-Hallows’-Eve, All-Saints’-Day were not to be spoken in this public school of attempted illiberal indoctrination by the incompetents. Those historically accurate terms were used by the people who worked in the little school of the little Episcopal Church that my children briefly attended.
That church is now a Buddhist temple. Rampant mismanagement did that church in, but blatant favoritism and the affluence of the 1990s also helped to corrupt this church out of existence. Martin Luther and his 95 Theses were onto something way back when.
Way back when in the 1990s was a perilous time for people of religious faith and people of national patriotism. We are living out the baneful effects of those years. Necessary, yes. Nice, no. If one must destroy a person or a thing to claim victory over it, it’s a rather hollow victory, is it not?
My victories, great and small, came about through my stunned realizations about masses of people, moving in the wrong direction. They were misguided, often foolhardy. I moved in my own direction, guided by the precepts which I hold dear, always have, always will. In Suburbia, I was mocked for those principles, but I tend to ignore derision, except when it is extends to my children, my husband, and even my hounds.
My life back then was the butt of ridicule and gossip as I tried to soar in my gilded cage of the California Suburbs. I took wing, or fled, to the foothills in 1998, to the Country. And I began a phase of my life that can only be said to have led to the joyous experience of true living. I’d been a very busy mom, during those Naughty Nineties, walking out of Hippie Churches with my 2 very young children, walking out of government contracts as I learned that Political Correctness was overtaking even Government-ese, and then walking out of the public school system.
Unbelievably vibrant were my déjà-vu moments during the Nineties when I thought that I was dealing with the Blue Laws of my little home town in northern New Jersey. The religious zealots of that by-gone era somehow became the atheist zealots of a newer era, and I prefer the Bible thumpers. They at least take a good thing too far. The atheists start with a bad thing and it only gets worse from there.
There’s no need for any God. Each person is his, or her, own god! Her final-curtain harvests might not be hellfire and brimstone, but she sure as heck won’t be rubbing ethereal elbows with cherubim and seraphim. There are some people even Purgatory won’t let in.
The hallowed halls of our houses are, always have been, and always will be — the places where we educate our young. Let us never forget that truth and that duty to the future generations. When I was a child, my father told me that socialization in public schools is for creating socialists. I savour the bounty of his words every day.
I consider myself most fortunate to have learned so many lessons of life from a man born in 1905. It was a time when the harvests of the wide open fields were actual crops that this Dutchman had been responsible for bringing in, as a boy, for his family’s farm. My love of autumn is derived from that love of the farm, and from the wide open fields where my father grew from a boy to a man.
We harvest all kinds of things this time of year. For some, there is the return of loved ones after seasons of distance. For others, there is the departure of people near and dear who must journey, but who will return, with their own harvests of happiness and hope. Some individuals must contend with a bitter return on investments of equally acrid emotions. People of ill will and dour spirits all too often expect sweetness and light after years of spewing spite and strewing the sour fruits they deem benevolent. Selfishness breeds selfishness, no matter what kind of smiley disguise is plastered on the churlish, self-centered face.
More’s the pity for them, those malcontents who perpetually attend endless pity parties. I’m not a party person, and so I guess I’ve missed out on those parties too. I recall the Holiday from History that too many Americans took during the 1990s. Those folks still party like it’s 1999. And we sane individuals scratch our heads and wonder . . . Why don’t they see?
They don’t see because they do not want to see: Reality would spoil their illusion. And their illusion is a self-serving delusion that has begun to morally bankrupt us all in this land called America. Their illusion is the result of pipe-dreams that never will come true, but we dare not tell these greedy ignoramuses the truth. If we dare speak the truth to them, their rage and narcissistic sense of entitlement bubble over like the noxious contents in the cauldron of Macbeth’s Three Witches.
The masks that people wear are for countless reasons, some good, some bad, some necessary, some superfluous. The mask of a coward is a vicious façade that hides double-dealing and betrayal. When that mask is removed, the picture of Dorian Gray is revealed.
It’s not a pretty sight, seeing phantoms become uglier in the light of day. Their indecency is obvious, and yet they will not shut up or go away. They pretend to be Caspar the Friendly Ghost, but they are sick ghouls, solidified ghosts, frozen in their own venomous vapor of treachery and hatred. They are the vampires of virtue, wearing the cloak of compassion but sucking the lifeblood of goodness and kindness from every lost soul they can feast upon.
There was a time when a phantom could be a semblance of half-good, half-bad, and the difference between the two spheres was often hard to discern. The phantoms of today are figments of their own imaginations, legends in their own minds, charlatans and cheats and debauched freaks in costumes. For them, Halloween is every day of the week. The macabre mavens of a circus media, the true mistresses of the dark, they preen themselves on the public stage and demand that we look at them. We look away and then we see that they are, in reality . . . nothing.
The masks of history are innumerable and varied, but the masks of fools always look the same:
Contempt for the feelings of others. Callous disregard of civli liberties while the fool whines uncivilly about his liberties being stomped on. The smug sneer frozen on the cynical face that has been spoiled by too much liberty.
Freedom in a free nation has its under-belly. We see it often, the underbelly, and we wish it would rein itself in with a belt or a muzzle or some sense of decency or decorum or moderation. It’s wishful thinking: brats of any age during any era throw temper tantrums. Some time ago, Halloween got ruined for hordes of people by the brats, but I, for one, celebrate that day for the hallowed traditions it once symbolized.
I believe in the happy fest of October. I believe in the sacred sense of life that imbues us with the spirit of an afterlife. That sense, or sensibility, makes the difference between light and dark, joy and sorrow, faith and fear, destiny and doom.
Always there is happiness and there is hope to reap, regardless of the misery that vindictive people sow. Autumn brings to us oh so many joys:
The feasting on shiny red apples; hikes in the cool, crisp air; the picking of fiery-colored leaves to iron between waxed paper; bonfires that once paid tribute to the light, or to the moon, granting abundant harvest.
During medieval times, It was believed by multitudes that the souls of the dead of the past year were gathered together and distributed, more or less, amongst the bodies of animals as retribution for, or in punishment of — sins.
Sin — What a quaint concept! Why it’s become a ratings grabber on pay-per-view! And the ghastly gory stuff of medieval lore!
Just as Vladimir Nabokov said, “You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style,” so too you can always count on the Bible for cash, cold hard cash. And I don’t mean just the televangelists.
Ever since Old Hollywood, with its swords-and-sandals epics, the story-makers-of-celluloid have treated Bible stories like cash cows in the most sinful of ways. Pay-per-view now grossly generates gruesome galas to rake in millions of unholy dollars for the crass corporations that, on the one hand, market this dreck as enlightened entertainment for individuals of elite “esthetics”; and, on the hand, treat the Individual like a stuffed pig to be stuffed with even more nonsensical, violent vulgarities that are boring and meaningless.
The search for meaning is not new on this planet. The relentless search for the almighty dollar to rip off people in search of that meaning — that revulsive contrivance is a bit more recent. The chaotic, loud, violent, garish, grim commercials that haunt my wide-screen are an enormous reason why I tend to stay “unplugged” for vast expanses of time. I tolerate this oafish commercialism, with the mute on, during my 2 basic plug-in times: watching hockey; and periodically, as necessary, performing my civic duty of becoming informed about my country and the world.
The televisual feasts are so boring! The ennui really gets to me. So do the catastrophic car commercials. And the lack of taste. The costume drama, where nobody wears clothes, is most malodorous!
Quality merchandise, quality ideas, quality stuff — now there’s a revolution, a reformation that requires more than 95 theses. The concept of quality is in itself under assault by the very people who have destroyed quality in umpteen arenas in America, in the world. Daily I go in search of celebrating quality in the present. And so I look to the past.
It’s a pleasant enough place. Memory and remembrance of that memory are the vital tools of any writer, and so we writers often spend time there, in the past, not living there, but visiting it often enough to permit the memory to speak, or to command what Nabokov so brilliantly called the name of his autobiography, Speak Memory.
When the memory speaks it can be a wondrous thing, filled with ripe imaginings of colors unheard and sounds unseen. The writer, the true writer, the litterateur, journeys back into the past, not as a retreat or even a refuge, but as a reality check. She is thereby able to know the difference between the real and the unreal, the true and the false, the frauds and the genuine articles. To me, Halloween is the real deal. This Halloween, especially this Halloween, trumpets a hallowed time of year that leads to even more sacred sojourns, to the star in the sky and the babe in the manger.
This fest of October is the festival of faith — in what America is becoming, in what the Individual can become. This festival looks ahead to the future of the foundations of life, of the greatness of the past coming back to life. All-Hallow’s-Eve is the unmasking of the masks that hid too many truths for too long from too many people. All-Saints-Day is the harvest of hope and the gathering of the glory of soul, not the glamorization of ghouls.
The celebration of Halloween has always been filled with pranks. Where I grew up in New Jersey, the night before the pagan festivities really got going was called “Goosey Night.” People had to look out for their cars which became the victims of what was politely termed “juvenile delinquents,” males who went roaming in packs to deface automobiles parked out on the street. This holiday “tradition” was the grievance ritual of the olden days, before the era when such pornographic psychology became normed.
In the early-mid-1960s, my father owned a relic from 1956, a grey Chrysler New Yorker Newport. (The family car was always at least a decade old, long before this vintage craze caught on, not out of any love for vintage, but because those hulking heaps were cheap.) I recall one Goosey Night when, from bow to stern, that metal boat got all soaped up, with Ivory soap, and egged, with non-organic eggs.
That next day, which was Halloween, I watched my father silently clean his car, getting rid of the crusted-on muck, and getting out of breath more from his sense of outrage than from his broken heart.
He wouldn’t let me help him to do that job. It the last time that he’d have to clean up that malevolent mess from those depraved youths. By the next Halloween, my father had gone to his reward, and I guess those punks went on to theirs.
I was but a child when my father would not let me help him with that job, with so many of the jobs that he felt, that he believed, were his alone to do. That baton of leadership got passed to this dutiful daughter one afternoon in January 1966. I now carry on many jobs he never got to finish, and my reward is infinite because our souls and our spirits are as one, in peace and in harmony, the kind many fathers and daughters do not often share.
That midnight deed of defacement was carried out by hoodlums from the rotting city who traditionally roamed Halloween Eve into neighboring towns. Their vandalism was perpetrated to avenge the people who had managed to escape their crime lair and move to a borough that was peaceful and productive. My Dutch home town was one of those places where my parents believed they were far enough away from lawlessness to safely raise their children.
White flight, black flight, people flight: For decades, millions of citizens in America became the honkers, the Canadian geese, flying all over the place, looking for a safe space to live. In terms of safety in the public square, we find it now at sites online, hopefully to commune electronically with like-minded people who are not afraid speak in real language, because lawyers and litigation have destroyed so much real language, and with it — freedom of expression in the public square.
The repressive prudes of political correctness have wreaked a chilling frost upon free speech. There is nothing more unresponsive than a corpse, and those prudes very much want to embalm language and, along with it, the truth. Any attempt to revive “the language” and speak the truth is treated like a bonfire of heresy by these toxic hypocrites who zealously claim to guard your First Amendment Rights.
They’re all poppycock, balderdash, fiddle-faddle and candy corn.
Don’t get sucked into their vile vortex of faux virtue. They’re such strangers to the truth that they deem the truth a mortal threat to us, one and all — a threat from which They must protect us, the ones and all who hunger and thirst after truth. The truth is, for many Americans, like a cup of water to the parched mouth after enduring years of sugar-spun deceptions made by the people who profit from fear-mongering just about anything and everything in Life.
The truth has become dangerous to the frauds and liars who hide and cower from it. No masks or costumes or disguises can hide them, once the truth is known.
The truth, so much maligned, is for me what the happy fest of October celebrates.
Secret truths are often confided to me by my black cat, who is named Annabella. Her Month has finally arrived. I have been quite busy with her, trying to keep the bird kill to a minimum. She has special powers, and she wishes for every human a fantastic October — with fests and fun and fantasies that include imagination and the idyllic imagery inside your mind.
The special power is within you — to create the fests of life that are the celebrations of living life with faith in God, family, and country, and with the pure but humble belief in your remarkably wonderful self. Any day, or night, of the week, we Moderns can possess once more the quiet resolve and uncanny inspiration that moved those Medievals to so fully and passionately live life each day, after a night without lights, with only the moon and the stars to guide them into the future.
In America, that future can be a whole new world, one that partakes in the past in a way of shining splendour, the possession of lifetimes of learning and yearning and reaching toward the moon and the stars. That kind of spiritual possession is magical, mystical, mystifying and marvelous. It is, Annabella reminds me, cool, black cat cool.
And it is fully in the spirit of the proceedings of Halloween!