Sunday, October 11, 2009

Things That Go "Huh?" In The Night

What a difference a year makes.

It's coming up on Halloween again - happens every year around this time, apparently - and this means that it was once again time to stuff our car to the gunnels and head off to Michigan for the annual Halloween Bash hosted by Dave and Karen and their daughter Emily. This was our second time going, though they've been hosting this thing for - what? - eons now.

Last year it was 80 degrees and the skies were darkened with voracious clouds of mosquitoes. Insect repellent was not enough, so we adults were forced to consume vast quantities of alcohol in order to get the mosquitoes drunk enough to kill by hand. Being an adult is about the sacrifices you make for your family. That's what we tell our children, anyway.

This year, however, the overnight low was somewhere in the mid-30s. There were no mosquitoes. But we still consumed our alcohol, just in case. Because you never know. Sacrifices, sacrifices.

We arrived a bit later this year than last, since Kim's conference didn't let her come home until early afternoon and it's a long drive out to the middle of nowhere. But we pulled up to a rollicking festivity, and the girls immediately bolted off in search of their cousin Emily, and - having found her and a gaggle of other children - were never seen or heard from again.

Well, no, not quite. But it felt that way sometimes.

There was more face painting by Kim, and the Haunted Trail was reportedly quite fun. I say reportedly because I started down the trail with Tabitha, Lauren and Adriana and we got almost 5% of the way in before they turned as one and demanded we go back. This I was happy to do, since the Haunted Trail leads through the Haunted Swamp and across the Bridge Perilous over the Haunted Creek and I had only my sneakers to squelch my way through the night in should any of that Hauntedness get inside them. We repaired to the bonfire and had a good, non-haunted time there.

The highlight for me, again, was the karaoke barn, because I am uncool and perfectly happy to be that way. We ended up with a gaggle of kids and a few parents alternating between Hannah Montana tunes (which as parents of course we all knew...) and Chumbawumba's Tubthumping, which is the ideal song for small children and adults thoroughly defended against mosquitoes to belt out on a cold night.

I get knocked down! But I get up again!
They're never gonna keep me down!
I get knocked down! But I get up again!
They're never gonna keep me down!

But like everything else in life, it does have its odd side. There really is nothing like a half dozen five-to-nine-year-old girls singing:

Pissing the night away!
Pissing the night away!

Oh well. Maybe they thought it was just what you did after drinking all the things mentioned in the song.

We slept inside this year, not being particularly eager to freeze to death in a tent - indoors with cots, air mattresses, couches and heaters is just fine, really. Because we're smart, that's why. And old and creaky and not likely to ever regain "vertical" after spending the night on the ground in a tent in what is, effectively, winter. The reasons just keep coming.

The girls spent most of this morning tending the bonfire and achieving a densely-smoked aroma that now permeates our car so thoroughly that we can cure meat in it.

Ah, memories.

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