By Bernadine Chapman-Cruz
A Halloween tradition turns into a lifelong joy – cherishing the sweet natural flavor of a juicy apple. As a child, on Halloween I anxiously awaited nightfall. As soon as porch lights glowed, armed with a large grocery sack, I ventured out to trick or treat. Customary Halloween treats included a variety of candies, gums and sticky popcorn balls wrapped in waxed paper. Sometimes I was even lucky enough to discover a wheat head penny or a buffalo nickel in the bottom of my sack.
My first stop was Mrs. Campbell’s. Every year I lined up with other kids in our neighbor’s front room where she sat in a wheelchair. She held a large crystal bowl on her lap filled with big five-cent candy bars. I remember as many as a dozen masked trick or treaters standing in a semi-circle while Mrs. Campbell tried to guess our names. After several unsuccessful attempts, Mrs. Campbell threw her hands up in the air, laughed and said, “I give up.” Then we filed out selecting our candy bar on the way out. If we lingered too long , she helped us make a decision. “Take two!”
My piano teacher lived in the next house and he too invited us in. Sometimes we had to wait for the next bunch of kids to come so there would be enough to encircle his grand piano. If you had been to the piano teacher’s house before, you knew that when he sat down at the piano bench and touched the keys, it was our cue to start singing. After three or four songs including Row, Row, Row Your Boat and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, the piano teacher, stood up and dropped a shiny red apple into each bag.
After running up and down the block, ringing doorbells and chanting “trick or treat,” I grew increasingly thirsty and tired. It was time to head for home. Once inside, I flopped down on the living room rug, where I dumped my loot onto an open piece of newspaper.
Now it was time to separate the wheat from chaff. As my apple rolled across the floor, I quickly picked it up and put it in the discard pile, where the less favored treats met a fateful end. Along with the apple were pieces of taffy, Black Jack Gum, red hots and jaw breakers, while the chocolate ‘keep pile’ grew with Three Musketeers, Mounds, Almond Joys and Hershey Bars. For the next couple of weeks, every night before bed, my mother gave me a coveted piece of my Halloween spoils.
The signal that my Halloween treats were depleted, was the night I got the apple my piano teacher dropped into my sack. I must admit, it was a welcome relief from my recent Halloween candy sugar high. The cool, refreshing, natural sweetness of a simple apple, never tasted so good. To this day, apples remain my favorite fruit. Copyright 2011 Bernadine Chapman-Cruz
- Halloween Safety (wdok.radio.com)