Behold ! November has arrived. It means the mountainsides turn barren and grey, waiting to be dusted with the first snow. It means the firewood is stacked, leaves are raked, boats and lawn furniture are put away until spring. It means life slows down somewhat as we settle in for winter. It means we bake pies and light candles. It means we make plans for Thanksgiving. It means the smell of wood stoves and mothballs from my favorite sweater. It means Buddy and I will soon move into a camper to broadcast live at Stuff-A-Truck for the 11th time. It means a constant ringing bell returns to shopping malls. It means scary masks and spider webs mix with Santa Clause and colored lights. It means stores and certain radio stations start playing holiday music around the clock. It means Halloween is behind us and Thanksgiving is already forgotten.
Buddy and I make certain not to shift gears so quickly through the holidays. We tend to let them linger. Halloween, for example, is one of our favorite holidays. People dress up in costume, go to parties and ask strangers for candy. Crazy? Not as much as these loons that dress up their pets for Halloween. Some even go as far as taking their costumed pets and putting them in Halloween pooch parades and contests. It’s a subject I bring up on the air every year at Halloween. Some say its cool, some say it’s cruel. But this year was like no other.
Buddy and I considered the options: A pumpkin, devil, witch, hot dog, cat, superhero, ghost or pirate. Should it be forced upon him or accepted willingly? As long as he could see, breath, walk without his costume constricting his movement and pee, I was all about trying. I asked myself if Buddy would truly be the happy, social and friendly dog he is; if he would be scared, stressed, embarrassed. I questioned my own sanity and asked myself repeatedly what the point and purpose was for dressing up Buddy on Halloween. I concluded that it must at least be attempted. We decided on superhero.
You might agree that it wouldn’t be right that Robin would trick or treat without Batman. The best part was no one knew it was JD Green and his dog Buddy as we made our way through some “upper class” neighborhoods of Montpelier. At just over five feet tall, Batman probably passed as a kid anyway. Door to door we went, collecting our candy that Robin would never eat. “Oh my gosh look at Batman & Robin”! We heard it all night. Robin became distracted a few times sniffing the rear-ends of a few other “normal” dogs but for the most part, it was a positive experience.
Finally we arrived at our last house of the night. It was the large mansion type with the wrap-around porch and wicker chairs. The yard and landscaping were immaculate. Every blade of grass was cut to length perfectly. Not a single leaf was on the lawn. An elegant chandelier sparkled through the stained glass windows. The cherry porch and matching ceiling were refinished with a brilliant shine. A royal tone rang out as I pressed the doorbell. Robin stared at me through his green eye mask, turned and went back down the stairs to the lawn. Just then, an elderly gentleman slowly opened his door displaying the foyer and magnificent banister leading to the upstairs. He was a studious man, seemingly well educated, maybe a retired brain surgeon. Just then his wife approached fitting the same description, with her glasses hanging on a beaded string. They stared at me and then frowned at Robin. “Yes?” the man asked. “Hi”, I said. “We’re Batman & Robin”. The old man continued his frown as his wife handed me a porcelain dish filled with mini candy bars. I graciously accepted. “Are you going to pick that up”? snarled the man as I turned to leave. There before me was Robin, in a squatted position under his cape, emptying his bowls. “Yes I will, and Happy Halloween” I chimed.
As I blew out my oil lamp, Buddy laid at my side. The sound of rain and wind howled against the windows as “Sandy” the “Frankenstorm” pressed on. This year was an all too different Halloween for Buddy and I. But with the smell of fresh baked warm sugar cookies and the glow of my jack-o-lantern, it was one I’ll remember just the same.