By the mid-1970s, both Had and Eddie were well into their own 7th decade. Had suffered the loss of his beloved wife and had lived alone for several years. Fortunately his daughter lived near him but he was lonely and sad. Then another blow struck our family and a lot of other people who knew Had….he was diagnosed with incurable cancer and had a limited time left on this earth. One of his cousins came to spend the last days living with Had in his home he had lived in most of his life after he got married and raised his famiy and conducted his poultry business in our little town.
My parents were especially saddened by this bad news. Had’s family had been our neighbors for all the years we had lived in our house. In fact, our whole block of older homes were occupied by the same families for decades, but slowly, the neighbors who were all older by this time, were dying, one by one, and the neighborhood would never be the same. Orville, the two Bills, Selmer, and Allan were already "gone". Now we heard the sad news about Had.
It was Halloween night and I had brought our sons into town that evening for a little round of trick or treating in my parents’ neighborhood since living in the country did not provide many neighbors in our neck of the woods. After the 3 small boys had returned to examine their "treasures" in Gramma and Grampa’s house, I got an idea…..why not go trick and treating over at Had’s house…dressed in costumes of course so he wouldn’t recognize us. My Dad lit up….he wanted to do things to cheer up Had and this was a rich idea! Eddie donned one of my mother’s old dresses and hats….we pulled nylon stockings over our faces and twisted our faces into irregular and unrecognizable grotesque "masks". I put on Eddie’s work overalls and other work clothing, including a floppy cap. We grabbed our "bags" and set off across the darkened back yard, stumbling over objects still in the yard….we bumped into the clotheslines with our nylon faces hampering our vision. We both had to re-adjust our head-wear a couple of times. The plan was to hide in the bushes in the dark driveway of Had’s house and wait for a bunch of kids to arrive on the porch and then join them in the back of the pack. We did not have to wait long. Had always had his outdoor lights on for trick or treaters and a fairly large group of kids arrived just as we had hoped. We took our places and waited for the door to open. Had and his cousin appeared with a large bowl of candy bars and the "real" kids took one each when Had instructed them to take one, only. Had took a lot of teasing in his time about being "close" with his money. He was a true descendant of his Scottish ancestors and had thrived due to his thriftiness. Now Eddie and I approached the door after the kids had all run off to another house. Had squinted through his thick glasses and observed, "You kids are kind of big to be out trick or treating aren’t you?" We said nothing but advanced into the entrance with Had backing away, looking a bit alarmed. We put out our hands and proceeded to grab large handfuls of candy bars, still keeping silent. "Hey! What do you think you are doing?" Had was getting upset. Finally we could not contain ourselves any longer and pulled off our nylon stockings, revealing our identities. Had broke into peals of laughter. His cousin roared also. We all had a great laugh and finally after a good bit of chit-chat, Eddie and I returned home via the treacherous back yard route. We did not want anyone else to spot us in our costumes. We gave back most of the candy bars we had snatched but each of us were muching on a Snickers bar as we stumbled back to Eddie’s house.
It was the best Halloween either of us had ever had.