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This Observer isn’t the lazy type. We work hard, stay busy, give 110 percent. But that has to give somewhere, and it gives on Halloween. The Observer is a Halloween slacker.

The Observer never plans ahead. Doesn’t settle on a costume. Doesn’t buy bags of candy to give out to trick-or-treaters.

This year, the Observer actually had a jack-o-lantern in the window a few days before Halloween, but that’s only because someone else made it for us.

So Halloween Day brings the same ritual every year. Trick-or-treaters end up getting whatever random candy is in the pantry. And after the sun goes down, with mere hours before the parties begin, The Observer goes to Savers. We walk the aisles, hoping for some kind of inspiration — a piece of clothing or accessory that will form the foundation of what we can pass off as a “costume.”

This time, it was a brown vest. Looked like something a Wild West sheriff would wear. The Observer would be a sheriff this year.

Problem was, Savers didn’t have any other sheriff gear. No hat, no badge, no guns, no boots.

So the Observer trudged across the parking lot to the Dollar Tree. After some poking around, we found some Halloween sheriff gear. One package had a hat, a belt, and handcuffs. The other package had two guns, two holsters and a badge. All the gear came to $2 plus tax.

Now the stuff didn’t exactly fit, so The Observer decided to duct-tape everything on, except for the hat, which was way too small for our head.

But having to pick up our hat all night was a small price to pay for the pleasure of being the slacker, ironically admiring all the great costumes we saw the way high school slackers ironically admired The Observer turning in our homework.



We guess it’s the Halloween thing. It still haunts us. Which is why we observe the following: Children have stronger stomachs than you might think.

We are not talking about eating too much candy. We are talking about bodies.

The Observer knows this because The Observer escorted a passel of fifth graders around Mount Holly last week.

Over and over again, several girls demanded to know why they couldn’t see the coffins. The obvious answer — that they’re underground — didn’t satisfy them. Why, they asked, wasn’t there a glass top to the graves so you could look down and see the coffins? And can you open those drawers in the mausoleum and see the people?

We chalk the first question up — about the lack of visibility of the coffins — to Snow White’s glass casket. If the only dead person in your experience is fictional and depicted lying sweetly under glass clutching flowers, you might expect to see the same thing at a real graveyard.

The second question — well, the thing is those decorative pulls. There are handles on the marble walls of some of those “shelved,” as Mount Holly expert Richard Butler says. The question is logical; the desire to look inside — well, to have that kind of curiosity is perfectly normal when death is still understood only in the abstract.

Less surprising was that the kids wanted to see their surnames on some of those plots. “Mount Holly is historic,” a little boy — who knows a lot of history, it turned out — intoned. They were hoping their ancestors were a part of it. They figured it was an honor. And so it is, to sleep at Mount Holly — there are always people visiting you.



On a higher note, we Walked as One on Sunday over the Main Street Bridge and back with other supporters of the National Conference for Community and Justice. This yearly hike just gets bigger and bigger. State Rep. Joyce Elliott and U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder addressed a crowd of several hundred gathered in the River Market pavilions before the walk. Their message: Here we are on the same page. Isn’t it great? Over here, we hoist a banner celebrating India, over there we are proud Jews. We are Methodists walking over here, Episcopalians over there and who knows what else we are. We are enjoying each other’s company. We are worn out by us-and-them thinking. If walls make good neighbors, bridges make them, too.


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