This was taken in August at Penny Newkirk’s Country Garden Cuisine on the outskirts of St. Charles. It was a wonderful day learning about her bountiful gardens and cooking school, soaking up local history and being inspired as we watched her cook in her impressive kitchen. We then had the pleasure of eating the fruits of her labor in her historical house. Penny had an impressively sprawling pumpkin patch that harbored this beauty, all for her grandchildren to enjoy come Halloween.
Do you remember your childhood Hallowed Eves? For many like myself, times were simpler. We wandered about in large groups with grocery bags or pillowcases and only came home for a quick bite to eat – or, more likely, to empty our bags, now too heavy, and go out for more. An older youth was usually in charge and, as we treated about, we’d run into other gangs of cowboys and princesses, ghosts and goblins, and we would exchange useful information, such as where the best treats were or what houses were really haunted.
One year a neighbor, who had a dutch door and was dressed as a witch, cackled away, the bottom door closed, just like the witch in Snow White. She handed us caramel apples, leaving the imprint of her long pointed ruby tinged fingernail in the gooey coating – her mark, so they said, as we hurried away, not quite sure.
Another year, I was a witch, with a long black robe and a floppy, pointed hat that blocked my vision. This was the 50’s, folks, and there were lots and lots of kids roaming about our neighborhood. My mom was with, so, I was still pretty young, and I was longing to be big enough to go without her and bigger enough still to cross the expressway to the vast unexplored land to the south where even more treats awaited. I floated that year in my costume of crone, a little bit spooked as a black cat followed us. I was, shall we say, an impressionable child, and so spooked by that cat who was trailing me that while queuing up at one house, allegedly stocked with Hershey bars, I tumbled off the porch, onto the bushes (note, onto not into), my robe ’round my knees, my hat slightly askew and my dignity bruised – an eerie foreshadowing of a life full of tumbles.
The black cat followed me home that night. Do you have a scaredy-cat story?