I think I live in Mayberry. Seriously. We have a Town Hall, unlocked front doors (except when there are rumors of gypsies), well-attended Friday night high school football games, and a 4th of July parade complete with the owner of the local Ford dealership riding a horse wearing nothing but a loin cloth, Top Siders, a large Indian headdress, and way, way too much Quik-Tan lotion. He proudly rides down the street, raising his hand and shouting “how!” to the crowd as he passes by. I do not know why he does this. But he does it every year.
Small towns have strange traditions. Some people call them quaint. Others are offended.
Another reason I think we live in Mayberry is that, every single year, an older couple in our neighborhood gives out home-made cider donuts on Halloween. There is a line down their walk, of costumed kids, parents, and teenagers waiting for the next batch. They are that good.
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up there was a nearly hysterical belief that someone might “tamper” with candy, try to poison kids, or slip a razor blade in an apple on Halloween. I was under strict orders not to eat ANYTHING, not a single piece of candy, until my parents had checked it. For danger. We never found danger, but anything suspicious – which meant anything with a ripped wrapper, anything natural, and anything home-made – was immediately thrown out.
When I first moved to this town, the idea that people would line up for natural, home-made donuts on Halloween was amazing to me. How did we know they were not “tampered with”??? How can we trust these people? Who are they anyway? Why would they do something like this? I had to make a big shift in my thinking to get used to the idea that this was safe. I have to admit that the shift was accelerated by the deliciousness of the cider donuts.
Tonight was Halloween and, because of the Big Storm, the donut house was still without power. Instead of taking the year off, the couple fired up their outdoor gas grill and fried the yummy cider donuts up in a vat of oil right there in the yard. (Hopefully with a fire extinguisher very close by.) The wait was a little longer, but the tradition lived on.
The donut house is a must-stop for my kids every year. I love that we live in a town where an older couple can hand out home-made donuts on Halloween and this seems completely normal to my kids. Their version of normal is so different from what I grew up with. Even if their “normal” includes a grown man riding a horse through town doing a questioned imitation of a Native American, it is nice to know this is still a place you can fearlessly eat home-made Halloween treats. It feels sort of like Andy Griffith might be down at the Police Station, right now, waiting for a cat to get stuck in a tree.
Do you check your kids candy before they eat it?