And Thanksgiving Suddenly Arrives on Halloween


Halloween masks

Some of the Halloween masks made in a reality TV exercise by students in one of my MMU classes. The one with the balloon was judged the winner.

I could be writing about the weather—we’ve had a consecutive string of nights well below freezing, so-called “hard” freezes that would be the end of mosquito season except they aren’t the first we’ve had.

But, truly, that’s pretty normal for this time of year. So the weather feeling like Nov. 1 right before All Saints Day just is not a huge shock to the system.

No, I mean I’m inordinately pleased, almost euphoric this morning because burdens have been suddenly and unexpectedly shifted into my future. It’s paradise in procrastination land—thanksgiving for the delayers.

I was feeling bad Tuesday because I had a meeting set late in the afternoon with my boss about a major at MMU, and little known to her, I’m supposed to have written a proposal to revamp said major that was to be the topic of our meeting. Yesterday, before the meeting, I was scrambling around trying to find my notes from consultations with other faculty members, and I can’t locate them. So I was expecting a somewhat awkward and vague meeting, full of empty promises to “get right on that,” when in fact I had already been on that and already dropped the ball.

But, it turns out the meeting is next Tuesday. Well, poke me with a fork and call me meatloaf. Hip, hip, hooray! I still have to find those notes and write that darn proposal, just not right this second.

I was in a good mood when I went to bell choir rehearsal, and something odd is happening there that continued to happen yesterday. I cant’ say why. I struggle a lot in the bell choir, and I feel bad sometimes that I’m holding everyone back. I’m definitely the most non-musical person in the room. We were going to play a new song, and the director said something like “we may eliminate the 16th notes,” and I was probably the only person in the choir wondering: What the heck does a 16th note even look like? And what sadist would call for a note that lasts for a quarter beat, a time interval so short you can’t even chew a bite of pizza once (that’s my musical time interval—an eight note is one quick chew). I’ve heard legends of these things called 16th notes, but no, I don’t want to try to play one and I want to protect my virgin eyes from ever seeing that abomination.

Bells

Boo! Spooky, right? I am going to play all of these bells, yes I will. Wish me luck. These are the bells I will ring for my Christmas solo.

Anyway, what’s odd? I feel like I’m doing slightly better than usual this fall. I’m actually reading the music and following along. I still get lost, still slow people down, but not as often as usual. I’m even going to play a solo song at an upcoming Christmas concert (blog fans, it’s Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. in the Memorial Chapel at Cedar Memorial—the big cemetery in town—yes, it’s true, they hold a big Christmas concert in a cemetery chapel, trust me, it’s fun). That means I’ll be ringing something on the order of 8 notes, not 2, my usual trick. And, we’ll see—but with practice, I’m sure I can do it. Slowly, ever so slowly, music is becoming less mysterious to me.

Well, they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I say they lie. And, according to an episode of “Myth Busters,” by the way, that adage about canines is totally libelous to old dogs. According to their tests, old dogs take pretty much exactly the same amount of time to learn new tricks as young dogs do. So there.

I voted

Yes I did on Tuesday, one week before Election Day. Done.

Anyway, despite being stressed and tired, my normal state during musical practices, I would say bells went well, as they have in recent weeks. Knock on wood, I don’t want to jinx myself, but there you have it—after about 3 years, I finally am staring to feel like I can actually play two notes. So after practice, I pedaled home in the dark, and when I met my lovely spouse, her first words were: “Want to go and vote?”

My first reaction was “no,” because I’m old-fashioned and vote on Election Day. But that’s only a week away and there is no chance in Hades that I’m changing my mind now. Audrey had gotten a call about a satellite voting station in our neighborhood, and what the heck?

So, I cast my ballot. If Romney wins, and the zombie apocalypse results, you don’t have me to blame. We then went to a restaurant for supper, and I had a steak. I don’t often eat steak, but I fairly often crave steak, and there was a delicious bloody dead cow on my plate.

I was not looking forward to today. It’s Halloween. Don’t get your knickers in a twist, I love candy, don’t mind giving it away, and am not one of those people who are confused about the meaning of Halloween and think it’s tied into devil worship and paganism an all that. For crying out loud, most Christian holidays, including Christmas, have pagan origins and we should just get over it and eat our Twix bars. Anyway, what I don’t like about Halloween is that Iowa College Media Association student newspaper contest entries are due that day, and that usually means I am on campus all weekend before getting them ready.

Except I was not this year, which meant that Halloween itself, today, was going to be devoted to searching through old newspapers with the kind of peculiar self-loathing that comes upon a newspaper advisor as he searches for something good in the past year’s worth of papers: Where is it? (Times kids, don’t take this as an indictment of you or your efforts, I think any communicator with experience will understand the melancholy of going through past efforts and wishing everything had turned out better, newer, faster, shinier—but mostly, just better. Trust me, it’s not you, it’s me.)

So I go into my e-mail, and I search for ICMA, and there is the message from the Iowa Newspaper Association with the rules. Sigh. Then I look at the rules.

Hold the phone, bar the door, break out the Champaign and drink a toast to yet one more last-minute reprieve. There I am, strapped in the chair, the guard is about to administer the juice, when suddenly in the ta-da nick of time, the governor calls.

The rules have been changed. The deadline this year is no long the day of ghouls—it’s Nov. 15.

Angels, descend, singing, playing handbells (Good King Wenceslaus, in case you wondered).

Even without a Reese’s (always and still my favorite on Halloween, but I’ll take that sweet candy corn, too) the day is looking up. I’ve already voted, I’ve eaten a steak, I have a few more days to write my major revamp and I have two weekends to put off my ICMA entries.

Score!

Cookie

And to top it off, just as I was polishing off this blog post, I hear Dr. Dennis, the psycho professor next door, saying “maybe Joe would like the last one.” No need to wonder, of course he would. Thank you, Dennis, and thank you anonymous psychology student who made a good Halloween even better.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “And Thanksgiving Suddenly Arrives on Halloween

  1. Hmmm… Wonder if all this generosity of deadline extensions will have a trickle-down effect for your students?? ‘Tis the season, after all.

  2. haha, “the psycho professor next door” very brave of you to eat that cookie, if that’s the case!

    • crgardenjoe

      They moved two psychology professors down into my neighborhood, and I’ve taken to calling my hallway the psyche ward. Now we’ll see if Dr. Dennis reads my blog or not 🙂

  3. Pat

    Mimi and family are voting today. I dropped off my absentee ballot at the auditor’s office about 2 weeks ago (it was on the way to Mimi’s place). I think that cut down the volume of political calls, though I did get one confused out-of-state volunteer trying to get me to vote for Christie Vilsack.

    • crgardenjoe

      If only you could. I’m almost willing to move back to Western Iowa. If King gets knocked out–well, whatever else happens, there would some sweetness to election day …

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