Are You Scared?

My favorite time of year is creeping up on us.

I’m not talking about the elections. Everyone else is talking about the elections. I did have an opportunity to discuss the candidates both during and after the first presidential debate with some good friends and Liz Halloran from NPR. That evening was interesting and Liz did a recap you may enjoy reading here. That WAS scary in itself. Realizing the next four years of troubled economics, underemployment, health care and education all pivot on the selection of one two men is frightening.
The decision smacks of a section of “Let’s Make a Deal” when the contestant had to pick “Door number 1” , Door number 2”, or “Door number 3”. “Door number 3” would be the independent candidate, Gary Johnson, but that choice wasn’t part of the discussion last week.

My father had gnarly hands. His knuckles were large and pushed back from fighting. (No, he wasn’t a boxer, but he was a fighter!) He had lost part of a finger in an accident while working at a biscuit factory when it got caught in a dough press. I had a hard time eating Ballard Biscuits for many years. You may never have heard of Ballard Biscuits, but they were a staple for many a Sunday dinner in Southern Indiana. Some recipes still call for Ballard as in “Chicken and Dumplings

Anyway, my father had some unusual parenting skills. One of those skills was to dim the lights so shadows cast were odd and distorted. We kids would hide, while my father, (who would muss his perfect hair so it stood up wildly all over his head!) came searching for us. Picture Jack Nicholson from The Shining sans axe and you have a pretty good idea of my father. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Oh, how awful!” I assure you…it was not.

That delicious fear, heart beating fast, clutching my brother in the dark waiting to be discovered is a sensation I remember vividly to this day. For a time, we might forget it was my father, and be frightened beyond belief.  My father didn’t forget who he was like Jack Nicholson did, so when we were found there was that moment of terror, but it followed immediately with recognition and relief.

That may have been the beginning of my love affair with all things spooky. It’s hard to recall which came first, Hammer Films or the bizarre games of hide and seek with my dad. At any rate, I grew up with a love of all things scary!

My first Haunted House was in the cafeteria of St. Augustine School, where cooked spaghetti hung from the overhead pipes to brush against the hands and faces of unsuspecting visitors in the big, cavernous space. In the daytime, it was noisy and filled with kids and a few Dominican nuns, but at Halloween, it was transformed into a horrifying realm of terror! (At least, that’s the way I recall it.)

I feel like I should continue this saga, but I see I have already dragged you along from presidential debates to biscuits to childhood memories of my elementary school. This is a lot like having a conversation with me, and I know by now, my friend, Linda, is usually holding up her hands in defense of my verbal assault. I may have to return next week to continue the saga. It is just as likely, I will have forgotten I even wrote this by next week. That’s scary, too!

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Nancy S Kyme October 08, 2012 at 02:48 AM
I remember Ballard Biscuits, and being deliciously afraid. Thank you for properly ushering in October.
Connie Moser October 09, 2012 at 11:28 AM
Thank you, Nancy!


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