Sunday, October 3, 2010

Jokes, Candy and the Fall

Ah yes, the cool breeze out of the north this morning was perfect. I have been waiting for the fall weather to arrive. This is my favorite time of year.

The month of October includes so many different elements and events. The stores are putting up Christmas and Thanksgiving decorations, archery starts for deer and dove season is slowing down. The kids are excited with the holidays coming and Halloween is just around the corner. Yes, this is a good time of year.

Halloween is different at our house today than it was early on. We still do some of the candy gathering, the kids love it and it is a chance for Sandra and I to have a nice walk. We usually go to another neighborhood than ours; ours is a dead-end street with a dozen houses, so the take has been historically slim for the kids. We have friends in great neighborhoods where almost every house participates with gusto -- that is where we like to go.

I don’t care if they get a bunch of candy, dress up in a creative costume and have fun. We have friends who don’t let their kids do Halloween -- no problem for me. There are lots of options as well: harvest festivals, candy carnivals, parties at church. Great stuff and great options and we have been known to do them all.

Practical jokes have always been a part of Halloween night as well. They range from funny to horrific. I am no fan of anything that hurts or damages others’ body or property. Being an FFA parent, I now also have to do a shift at the FFA barn on Halloween. There have been random acts of violence on animals around the country at FFA barns. People blame black cults, witches and satanic groups for these horrific events and some may be, but I think most of it is kids who are, for lack of a better description, screwed up.

My daughter and some of her friends have a series of practical jokes going among themselves. One of the jokes was on her while we were away for summer vacation. Her pickup truck was left in our driveway and a couple of the instigators completely covered her truck with “sticky notes.” Pink, blue, yellow squares covered the whole vehicle; it was fantastic. The other really good one is a bit more serious. They put zip ties on the crank shaft so when the unsuspecting driver drives, they slap against the under part of the car and it sounds like something is seriously wrong. Pretty good one.

The good Lord loves to joke with us and bless us. He joked around back when he was here in the flesh, and I paraphrase, “You ding-dongs, why do you worry about cleaning out your cup and a tiny gnat when you turn around and swallow a camel?” I bet there was also some kids who figured out sticky scrolls on a camel or leather zippy strips on a chariot axel. God jokes with me.

Recently I was trying to fit a landscape timer into an open spot. I only had one piece left and as I walked across the yard to get it, I talked with him. I asked him if he would just make it the perfect size so I could be done with the yard work. I laughed as I set it in place; it was, to the millimeter, perfect. I love those times with him.

Fall and the holiday season will get a lot of folks to start thinking about family and giving, what life is about and their legacy. That is a good thing. Know that God is not a collector of marks against you. He does not keep track of what we do wrong. God is a loving Father who only wants to love on us and care for us. He wants us to learn and do better, just like a loving earthly father would.

Take time this fall to love on someone who needs it. If you feel so moved, donate to our youth ministry, We are planning fall hunting outings for boys who don’t have dads, and we could use the support. Go visit your family, heal a riff that may be there. Eat some candy, laugh, get out of your world and help someone else. If you know of a good, safe, clean practical joke, e-mail it to me. I like to have a little something in my pocket in case I need to “pass it on,” if you know what I mean.

Picture: Taylor’s “sticky note truck”, courtesy of Josh and the one guy who is always around when the jokes go down -- Dylan.