Monday, October 31, 2011

Day Forty-Two: Halloween Spirit

Just yelled at Arwen and her little buddy who run across the road without looking both ways. It's only seven degrees Celsius and the town is on the move. Doorbells ringing. Running downstairs. Dropping chips, chocolate, gummies, lickerish, suckers into pillow cases, orange shopping bags, ice cream pails, pumpkin buckets. Little gypsies, cartoon characters, action figures, pirates, princesses, teddy bears, monkeys, ghosts, and one chicken are waddling, running, hopping, trudging from door to door, followed by adults on foot or in vehicles. Earlier Andrea, Ian and I followed our kids on foot, enjoying a rare adult-sibling outing. We decide that next year we'll meet like this again, but dressed up. "There's solidarity if we're all dressed up," Ian says. We go back to Janet's for spaghetti. Now I'm following just Arwen and Tia.

On the weekend I'd announced to my sister-in-law and cousin that they should be like me and let their kids make their own costumes.

"We'll get there," Janet says.

Oh, I scold myself, their kids are only ages one to six.

"Sheena forgets," Michael says, "That I did all the costumes."

But I always took the kids door to door, and every year, just like this year, the Halloween Community spirit sneaks up on me. I love seeing a mix of people, all over town. Neighbours greeting neighbours at their front doors. One partner out with the kids. Somebody else at home manning the front door.

I see two of my grade ten girls trick or treating. I'm not sure they want to acknowledge me. Maybe they're intimidated to see me with my siblings. Maybe they think I'll think they're too old. I told one of the girls earlier today in class that I thought about her as I passed the Treaty Four Convenience Store this morning, and I wondered if she'd finished her Treaty Walk story. She did work on it in period three and handed it in. It's probably the smoothest student weaving of treaty awareness and an every-day walking experience from the assignments I've received. I wonder if she'll be interested in trying to publish it. Minus Twenty in the Leader Post. News Letter. Fort Times. It's that good. We pass each other a few times as we walk and we tease back and forth. I hope she knows I think she's a great kid.

I'm substituting today for my intern because she is at a funeral. It's fun being a visitor in my own classroom. I read the sub notes to the students, pointing to Jade's, "Game Plan" on the white board. They read for fifteen minutes, write a quiz on photography for twenty minutes, we correct the quiz, and then they have an exit slip, "What did you think of the quiz?" My student I later saw trick or treating writes, "It was kind of testy." I hear her giggle as she writes.

We have so many laughs today at school. Mike in his mullet and sunglasses. Four witches. Two masquerade masks. One green dragon. A lab coat or two. One raging hormones pregnant woman; oops, she wasn't in costume. A red clad damsel in distress. A chubby kid in size 42 sneakers. A bag lady. A gypsy. A mystic. I'm not sure if I'm a pirate, a gypsy, a hippy, or just mysellf with ringed earrings, silk kerchief from India, big sleeves, jeans and clogs. When the kids ask me if I'm a pirate, I answer, "Arrrrr Matie." If they ask if I'm a hippy, I say, "Peace," and hold my fingers in the V peace sign.

The SLC kids and teachers run a spirit assembly, students who dress up walk the runway to pumped up music. Moira and Sweet are Elizabeth and Jack Sparrow, flowing dress and musket down the aisle. They are gorgeous. I'm a proud mother. The students, grade by grade, with one teacher team, have a bizzarre relay race, with four laying on the floor, using their bodies to roll a mattress with a pumpkin on top. I have to leave the assembly during the "fear factor" where kids volunteer to drink concoctions like, "blue slirpee, bag of chips and sardenes." My gag reflex is in perfect working order.

We stop in at the cousins, our last stop, and I show Angela the pictures of Moira's dress that Victoria sewed and the graffiti that we've all seen across from the school next to the renovated condos, "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." Brian tells me these are the late Jimi Hendrix' words. Makes me think of my colleagues today, and the love they have for their kids, their subjects, their school, their vocation. And really, love is power. And I think about this town on the move tonight; help us to keep our eyes open for opportunities to interrupt our love for power with the power of love.

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