SFPNN Special Edition – 10/31/08
Halloween: Theology and Logic

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— Thanks to author, Joseph Walker, for today's Special Edition

By Joseph Walker

I’m not sure why I decided to dress up as Fidel Castro for Halloween in 1962.

It may seem self-evident.  October 1962 was the month of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which means it was probably on the nightly news, and the Walkers were big Walter Cronkite watchers back in the day.  When he said, “That’s the way it is” . . . well, that’s the way it was.

But I was 7, and I paid no attention to anything on TV that didn’t feature clowns, cowboys or Mouseketeers.  In retrospect, I think I only knew three things about Castro: he had a beard, he always wore fatigues and he smoked a big, fat cigar.  And to my 7-year-old way of thinking, that was the makings of a great Halloween costume.  I was especially interested in the cigar, since I had a foot-long plastic stogie left over from the previous year’s hobo costume.  To me, that made the transition from homeless vagabond to totalitarian dictator completely natural.

But not to Mom.

“You want to be WHO?”

After eight children, you’d think that Mom had seen and heard pretty much everything.  But I took pride in occasionally coming up with something that seemed to stump her – or to at least make her wonder why seven wasn’t enough.

“Castro,” I said.  “You know – that beardy guy on TV?”

“Yes,” Mom said, “I know who he is.  I just don’t know why you would want to be him.”

Well, there were a million reasons.

I just couldn’t think of any at the moment.

“I don’t know,” I said after a fairly pregnant pause.

“You don’t know?” Mom asked, her dark eyes flashing and her carefully coiffed black hair bobbing.  “You don’t know who he is?  You don’t know what he stands for?  You don’t know what he almost did to our country?”

Mom was sweet and kind and loving, just like a mother is supposed to be.  I adored her.  But I also feared her.  She was stocky and tough, and she had a way of looking at you – hands on hips, head slightly bowed with her eyes glaring up at you over the top of her glasses – that made you want to run and hide behind your mother.

Except . . . she WAS my mother.

“Well,” I stammered, trying to come up with something . . . anything . . . “Um . . . he . . . you know . . . wants to blow up . . . um . . . something...”

“He wants to blow up America!” she said, emphatically.  “He wants to wipe us off the face of the earth! And he WOULD have, if President Kennedy hadn’t figured out what they were up to and made them stop.”  Suddenly, an idea occurred to Mom: “Maybe you could be President Kennedy!  That would be fun, wouldn’t it?”

I thought about it for a second.  President Kennedy was cool.  I mean, his family played touch football on the White House lawn – how cool was that?  We all tried to imitate his accent (you haven’t lived until you’ve heard western boys try to do a New England accent: “We are now going to play, and we are going to do it with great vig-ah!”).  He had a cute daughter about my age.  And I kind of liked the idea of trick-or-treating with a new mantra: “Ask not what trick I can do for you; ask what treat you can give to your neigh-bah!”

But President Kennedy had really cool hair and was thin and handsome.  I had a butch cut and was pudgy and . . . well . . . I figured I could pull off Castro, but I couldn’t pull off Kennedy.

So I was the Devil that Halloween, and Mom was OK with that.  Don’t ask me why it was NOT appropriate for me to be Fidel Castro, but it was OK for me to be Satan.  There are some things that defy theology and logic.

Especially on Halloween.

-- © Joseph Walker

E-mail Joseph 

For more stories from Joseph, please visit http://www.sfpnn.com/joseph_walker1.htm

* * * CHECK OUT Joseph Walker's LATest bookS! * * *

"Look What Love Has Done:  Five-Minute Messages to Lift Your Spirit." 

"How Can You Mend a Broken Spleen?  Home Remedies for an Ailing World."

* * * 

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