Halloween is a big deal in Black Mountain. On the weekend leading up to Halloween we host a craft show called Art on the Tracks, a fun show that benefits The Old Depot, a nonprofit providing funding to teachers who plan art projects with their students. On the same Saturday we gather for the Pet Parade. People and their dogs dress in zany costumes and march up and down Cherry Street. Even though the day was cold and rainy, folks turned out, and it seemed as if there were more dogs than ever in the parade this year. Yea, Black Mt.! You rock!! (just kidding.)
On Halloween night hundreds of kids and parents show up in the area just north of town and trick or treat. Even adults without kids participate. Those in the area around Church Street are hit pretty hard and must buy tons of candy. One year there was a drive to help them by contributing bags of candy to the people in that area. This year that didn’t happen. It rained hard on Halloween night, so it’s possible the onslaught wasn’t too bad.
Lorraine loved Halloween and stocked up on Dove chocolates even though virtually no trick or treaters showed up at 44 Cherry St. Each year she told herself late Halloween night, “Well, darn it. No trick or treaters this year. I guess I can’t let all this chocolate go to waste. Oh, and Look! It’s Dove chocolate! Don’t mind if I do…”
This year she bought twice as much and added Godiva truffles for Frederick, even though he didn’t eat chocolate. She also picked up a costume at Hopey’s when they reduced all their costumes to $5 and dressed as a Gothic Witch, whatever that was, for the pet parade. She dressed Suki as a cat, because witches have cats as familiars. Sadly they didn’t win any prizes, which Lorraine found unfair.
She dressed herself and Suki in costume on Halloween and walked around town, hoping the shop owners would give out candy. It was raining, but she didn’t let that stop her. As she walked down Cherry St., she ran into Ruth Pittard. Ruth was smiling broadly and carrying her sign, “Love Starts Here,” which she waved aggressively at passers-by every Wednesday evening, rain or shine, from the corner at Town Square.
“So, Ruth,” said Lorraine. “Today is Thursday. Are you going to insist that people love each other on Thursdays now, too?”
Ruth let out her resounding guffaw and shook her head, making the Fairy Hair on her carefully-coiffed head vibrate. Long mismatched earrings she had purchased at Chifferobe sparkled. “In these dark times, we must support one another. You’re right. Maybe I should expand my vigil to more than one day a week.”
Lorraine noticed that Ruth was dressed in a long black cape. “Oh, I see you are dressed as a witch too!” remarked Lorraine. “You must be Glenda the Good Witch!”
Ruth looked puzzled. “Oh, do you mean this black cape? I always wear black, but maybe I’ll tell people I am a good witch today. Thanks!” She walked on, waving the sign over her head and flashing it at drivers as they attempted to weave their way up and down Cherry St., trying to avoid hitting pedestrians. In a few weeks, traffic on Cherry would be limited to one way only. More than one driver shook a fist at her, but even that didn’t erase the smile from her face. She just chuckled deeply and left a waft of gas smell in her wake. She had been working at Chifferobe Monday when the fire department showed up, sirens blaring, because there was a gas leak in the shop that people were smelling all the way at the top of Cherry St. The whole town could have exploded. But it didn’t.
Lorraine made her way to Chifferobe. Inside she was delighted by the scent of the Greenwich Bay soaps for sale. She found Stephanie, the shopkeeper, curled up reading on the comfy leather chair in the corner of the shop. She had a cup of Dynamite Coffee from Sassafras in one hand and was stuffing herself with Heath Bars. “This is my favorite kind of day!” she said. “This rain keeps all but the most serious shoppers off the street and leaves me in peace to read this book. I can’t put it down!”
“What are you reading?” asked Lorraine, sitting on one of the pretty Kantha-covered chairs with Suki at her feet. She grabbed a few Heath bars from the bowl on the leather hassock and unwrapped one.
“I am reading an amazing novel and listening to another in my car. So lucky! The book I am reading is Virgil Wander by Leif Enger. It is beautifully written, slow paced, and incredibly sweet. It’s about trusting in second chances. Like the second chance that we have here…that the building isn’t going to blow up!”
“The book on CD is Transcription, by one of my favorite British mystery writers, Kate Atkinson. I have been sitting in my car when I arrive at destinations because I can’t stop listening to it. Juliet, the main character, was a spy for MI5 during the war, and is revisited years later by someone with a grudge. She’s not sure who it is, or what they want.”
Lorraine had eaten the candy in her fist, and reached for more. “I really shouldn’t. I am so fat!” she cried. “But it is a special day, after all. Candy has no calories on Halloween, I hear.”
Suki whined for a treat, and Lorraine pulled a small tidbit from her purse. “I’d give you chocolate, Darling, but it’s bad for Doggies.”
Sure enough, no customers came into the store the whole time Lorraine visited. And after the chocolate was finished, Stephanie declared, “It’s wine o’clock now! Shall we?”
“But of course!” said Lorraine, and Stephanie went for the Sauvignon Blanc in the frig.
Come by Chifferobe Saturday from 12-2 and meet Rob Mies. He will demonstrate his woodworking skills.