Happy Halloween—I think.

I have mixed feeling about Halloween. But, to be honest, I don’t think I’m the lone pumpkin in the patch.

Like myself, a lot of Christians struggle with Halloween. While we enjoy certain aspects of the day, we feel uncomfortable too.  Many faithful Christians truly believe that Halloween is evil and take no part in celebrating it. So we wonder—should we ignore October 31?

I like many things about Halloween. Take costumes, for instance. Who doesn’t delight when we see little girls dressed up as princesses, ballerinas, kitty cats, and Wonder Woman? And the boys—tell me whoIMG_4098 could possibly scowl at baseball players, Ninjas, Spider Man, and pirates?

When these cute little kids knock at our doors, do our hearts not melt when we plop a piece of candy into their pillowcases and receive a mile-wide grin and breathless “thank you?” Okay—maybe we can make an argument that sugary candy isn’t good for children. But my philosophy is that Halloween comes once a year—let the kids live a little. If you’re really concerned about the sugar, kids love cool pencils, home-made cookies (Although I warn you—as a parent, if I don’t know who gave my kids that homemade cookie, I pitch it; what if it’s poisoned?), and other healthy snacks. Or, if you IMG_4082really want to see a megawatt smile, give them money.

Besides the costumes, I love the carved pumpkins, the corn stalks, the hay bales. And this year, in my little village of Romeo, Michigan, folks have even decorated their homes in orange lights.

Ah, lovely.

But then there’s the flip side of Halloween that I definitely do not like—not one little bit. I shudder when I see children dressed as witches, ghosts, ghouls, or fortune tellers. The Bible clearly tells us to have nothing to do with these things.

There shall not be found among you anyone…who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead,  for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. (Deuteronomy 18: 10-12)

And, call me a fuddy-duddy, but children dressed up as the devil? Jesus—myJesus dying on the cross Lord that I love above all—allowed soldiers to mock him, beat him,  and nail him to a cross to free me from sin, death, and eternal damnation—the same sin, death, and damnation that delights the devil. Satan isn’t a fairy tale or something to take lightly. He is serious business; so serious that it took God Almighty himself to save us from him. The devil wants nothing more than to separate us from God by wooing us with worldly sin. To die and spend eternity in a lake of fire. And, make no mistake about it—his agenda includes our sweet children.

How’s that for scary?

Therefore, I will never, ever see anything adorable about a child dressed as the devil.

Of course, I could easily pretend that Halloween doesn’t exist, thus eliminating my quandary. My kids are all out of high school, so I don’t have anyone to dress up anymore. And, since we live on the outskirts of Romeo, the number of trick-or-treaters that came to our house in the past few years is a big fat zero. Therefore, no one will be disappointed if I don’t pass out candy. Yep, October 31 could just roll on by—be another fall day like any other day. Except, as anyone who lives in Romeo knows, Halloween is almost impossible to ignore.

Because of Tillson Street.

Starting in early October, the residents of Tillson Street decorate their homes for Halloween. When I say decorate, think thousands of dollars—and the results are spectacular. I have friends who lives on Tillson Street, and every year they convert IMG_4092their home into a castle, complete with a cannon that goes BOOM and scares the pants off anyone inching past the house in the long queue. Fun stuff. (I’m a willing cannoneer at least once a year—see why I kind of like Halloween?) And, I kid you not, during the week before Halloween, people actually wait in a line to walk the sidewalks with thousands of other folks who have come to view the amazing displays. On Halloween, the police close the streets as over two thousand costume-clad children scurry to the coolest trick-or-treat spot in Michigan. You can find out more about Tillson Street at https://www.facebook.com/Halloween-on-Tillson-Street-Romeo-121198587983604/ or at http://www.terrorontillson.com.

Tillson street is fun to visit. Again, while I’m not a fan of the witches and ghosts, a lot of homes are truly wonderful to see. Let me end this blog by displaying my favorite decorated Romeo homes in the photos above and below, many of which are on Tillson Street.

Be safe on October 31.

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That’s My Son’s Truck

I’ve been writing a lot about vehicles lately—Jeeps, our GMC Safari… Here’s one more, courtesy of Dizzy Blonde Chronicles.

garageSeveral years ago, my oldest son’s Dodge Dakota needed new wheel bearings. Since the garage my husband and I use would do the job for a good price, he dropped off his Dakota and took my Jeep for the week. I’d drive his truck when the mechanics fixed it, and then we’d swap back next weekend.

One evening, my son called and said his vehicle would be ready for pickup the next afternoon. So the next day, I had my youngest son take me to the garage.

“Wait here, in case it isn’t done,” I told him.

It’s a good thing I asked him stay, because when I walked into the garage, the first thing I saw was my son’s brown Dakota still on the lift.

When a mechanic came my way, I pointed to the Dakota. “That’s my son’s truck. He told me it would be done by now.”

The mechanic took off his hat and wiped his brow. “Sorry, but that truck needs a lot of work. We’re not finished.”

“But my son told me it just needed new bearings.”

The mechanic replaced his hat. “It does, but we found a lot more problems.”

I cringed. My son was a new teacher and not making much money yet. “My son said the bill would be around $600,” I said.

The mechanic shook his head. “Not anymore. He’s looking at $1,500, maybe more. Let me show you.”

He led me under the truck and began pointing out the problems. I’m sure he wasempty pockets trying to be kind, but all I could think about was that $1,500 would wipe out my son’s meager savings. While the mechanic pointed to thingamabobs and twiddled hickey majigger, I contemplated asking my husband if we could help by paying at least half the bill. But, no matter what, I’d have to break the bad news to my son when I got home.

I called him as soon as I walked in the door.

“Honey, bad news on the truck,” I told him. “It’s not done, and they found more that needs to be fixed. And it’s going to be over $1,500.”

“But they told me $600,” my son said.

“I know, I know. But they showed me all the problems. And even though my knowledge of truck innards can be summed up in the words ‘diddly squat,’ even I could see that those parts needed replacing. But don’t worry, we’ll help you.”

After I hung up, I found myself angry. How dare those mechanics give my son a price, have him haul his truck all the way up here, and then swindle him. Wait until I picked up his truck—I’d give them a piece of my mind they’d not soon forget. And I’d never, ever, ever take our vehicles back to them.

An hour later, my son called. “Mom, I just talked to the guys at the garage. They said the bill was $600.”

“But, but…”

“They also told me they finished my truck this morning.” My son broke it to me gently. “Mom, I think you were looking at the wrong truck.”

The wrong truck? Now that I thought about it, I’d never told the mechanic my son’s name. I’d just pointed to a brown Dakota, assuming it was my sons.

“Mom,” my son continued, “can you go back and pick it up today? I already gave them my credit card number and paid for it.”

“Uh-uh, no way José, I’m not showing up there again,” I said. “Never, ever, ever. I’ll be the laughingstock of the whole garage!”

20171020_154622But in the end, I went back. But not until the next day, hoping another mechanic was on duty. Just in case I saw the same guy, I pulled my hair back, put on a ball cap, and wore a different coat, hoping he wouldn’t recognize me.

But, when I slunk into the garage, there stood the same mechanic. And, yes, he recognized me right away. I could tell by the way he bit his lip when he saw me coming.

Fortunately, the man must have a blonde wife, because he had the remarkable ability to keep a straight face. “So, talked to your son yesterday. I guess you got his truck mixed up with another customer’s truck.”

When all else fails, I’ve learned to try laughing at myself. “Ha ha, isn’t that funny? What’s the chance of there being two Dakota’s in here at once? And both dark-colored! What a hoot, I can’t believe I did that, I’m so funny…” I snapped my trap shut. I was babbling, like I always did when I’m humiliated. I got the receipt, grabbed the keys, and hightailed it out of there as fast as I could go.

Today, we still use the same garage, now that I’m back to trusting them again. And I’m never embarrassed to have my son or husband drive me there when I have to pick up a vehicle.

Of course, I have them pay and get the keys while I sit outside slumped down in the seat.

Wouldn’t you?

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