Talk about being prepared for Halloween! We’ve been wearing our masks for the past six months!
You can’t tell Nancy Pelosi from Freddy Krueger if they’re wearing one of those full-face coverings. You just kinda nod and smile and pretend you know exactly who you are talking to.
It can be a little intimidating. You’re not sure if it’s an old flame, your sister-in-law from Paducah or the guy that loaned you fifty bucks back in February. The worst part is you can’t tell a Republican from a Democrat… until the conversation gets around to President Trump, government stimulus checks or social distancing.
It wasn’t that way when I put on my very first mask to go trick or treating. Leon wrapped tin foil around his whole body and went as a visitor from another planet. Mom cut eyes and mouth holes in a pillow case turning David Mark into Casper the Friendly Ghost. I wore my Lone Ranger outfit complete with the black mask and white hat pulled down low on my forehead.
We were going to enjoy Halloween, incognito.
The first stop was Aunt Jessie’s. We didn’t fool her for a second. “The Colbert boys in all their splendor.” was the way she greeted us. She had the popcorn balls Leon liked. Dave got his favorite brownies. And she saved a special chocolate chip cookie for me.
We walked down the road a ways to the Brooks’ house and yelled “Trick or Treat” in unison. Mrs. Brooks looked down and said, “Well, hello Leon, Kesley and David, it’s good to see you boys… ”
You can’t do no tricking if they know who you are! It’s a Republican thing.
Mrs. Brooks dropped a couple of Tootsie Rolls in our sacks while we wondered which costume gave us away so quickly!
We decided to get further down the street where we might not be recognized so easily. We knocked on Pete Joiner’s door. Mrs. Joiner took one look at the tin foil space suit and immediately said, “Leon, you always come up with the best costumes.”
I couldn’t even tell it was Leon under all that Reynolds wrap - and I helped put him in it!
We walked all the way to town. We picked a house on Main Street, next to the service station behind the movie theatre. A tall lady I didn’t recognize opened the door. Before we could get a word out she smiled and said, “I was wondering when the three Colbert musketeers were going to get to my house.”
She had Snickers bars. So the trip wasn’t wasted! But we were a bit baffled that our “incognitoing” hadn’t panned out.
We sat down on the circular wall of the fishpond in the center of the town square. Our plan to fool the whole world hadn’t gotten off the ground. Maybe Mom cut those eyes holes too large…
We drowned our befuddlement with a Snickers chased down by a Tootsie Roll and pondered our current affairs. We were being seen and heard, doing the same thing over and over… but expecting a different result each time. Gosh, you’d a’thought we were Democrats.
Leon broke the silence. He was almost 11, the oldest, wisest, and, as he often reminded us, the best looking, “We live in the wrong town.”
This Halloween night just kept getting stranger by the minute. It was the only place we had ever lived. I thought “here” was exactly where we were supposed to be!
“Everybody knows everybody. Everybody takes everybody for granted. We can’t find a door that doesn’t have a friend, an acquaintance, someone who knows our parents on the other side.” Leon was just getting warmed up!
“This familiarity has warped our thinking. We fuss at each other over things that don’t matter; who makes the best cakes and pies in town, whether Dixie Lilly or Martha White is the better flour, some swear by Chevrolet, for others it’s a Ford, or walk… Talking about nothing but hog prices and the weather can drive anybody nuts! But, when you boil it down to the bare basics, we’re all still in the same – “
Dave mercifully interrupted, “Just as long as they drop candy in our sack, I don’t care if they know who we are.”
Leon didn’t hear him, “We are all very much alike. The whole town is. Maybe that’s why we work so hard at being different…”
He had gone off the deep end! Me and David started back home. There was candy to be had at every house along the way. We took our masks off and went to knocking on doors…
This article originally appeared on The Star: Hunker Down: Ghouls, goblins and a trio unmasked