Graphic courtesy of PrintMaster 12
I'm a sucker for the kids down the street. They often drop by to visit if they know we are home, whether they see us working outside or just relaxing on the porch after a days work. They are friendly, inquisitive, and funny. I enjoy their company as they are well-behaved and mindful of their manners. They have two large dogs, both lab mixes and one of them, Dodger, is the master of escaping from the back yard. Sometimes I'll hear a commotion outside and look out the window in time to see the little girl, A, being led down the street by Dodger. Moments later, I'll see the two cross past the window again, this time with A in control, Dodger having had his fill of running amuck in the neighborhood.
I'll refrain from using their given names, for the sake of their privacy. Were the world a safer place I would not hesitate to share their names. But they are not my children and all three are minors, so I'll just use one letter for each child. There is the girl, A, age 9, and her two brothers, J age 5, and T age 11..
Last month Sam and I were working outside when all three children came running into the yard, catalogs in hand. Over the years I've come to believe our schools are turning the children into little Amway people. Between work, family and the neighbors, Sam and I are constantly under the siege of school fund raisers.
Thank heavens for the summer as it provides the only respite we'll ever see; after all Sam's oldest daughter is an elementary school teacher and her school does the magazine subscription pitch. Which, by the way, is the kind I did in my youth. So, back to the kids. I can't say no to them, and their school features some very cool merchandise in the catalogs. With huge smiles, their eyes a light with dollar signs, they stand before me. Together we take a seat on the steps of our front porch and I begin shopping. I see lots of things I like, and roughly add the items up in my mind, careful to keep the total purchase from each child similar in cost. Not an easy task. I ended up with a box of chocolates, two tubs of cookie dough, Christmas wrapping paper, and more chocolates. Yep, I'm a sucker.
So, the other night there is a knock at the door and there stand all three children, fully dressed in their Halloween finery, their arms loaded with the fruits of my catalog quests.
"Trick or treat!" they chime in together as they playfully thrust the items into my arms. Loaded down with my 'necessities' I invite them in, unaware that the artful Dodger has snuck in while my back was turned.
I set my purchases down on the kitchen table, fussing over their costumes. T is dressed this year as the 'Scream' guy (you know, with the long white mask), A has selected a witchy princess theme, and little J is all decked out as a cow, his costume complete with a noisy air pump to keep his bovine shape in perfect form.
It's priceless and I'm about to grab my camera when I see my dog Allie standing in the living room with a rawhide bone in her mouth.
Funny, I didn't give her a bone. Just then I see the artful Dodger casually strolling through the living room. Ah-ha! That's were she got it. What kind of hostess is she, stealing treats from the mouths of her guests? I snatch the bone away from her and return it to Dodger,who then drops the bone right all Allie's feet. Naturally, she can't resist and scoops it right up. I think Dodger has a crush on her, and so do the kids, who by now are all teasing the artful one about his 'girlfriend.' Allie gets the bone removed from her mouth again and I send her downstairs. The kids need to go, so I send them off with a few early Halloween treats. These past two years they have learned I purchase my Halloween candy early, and they always find some excuse to pay me a visit a few days before the actual holiday. They love Skittles and M & M, and this year I sent them off with some Dots, as well.
Friday night they came back for more. More Dots. Now, they love Dots.
And the cookie dough. Excellent! Peanut butter. White chocolate macadamia nut. I just baked over three dozen cookies and the house smells yummy!