Memory of a ‘hobo’


All Hallows Eve.

That one time of year when ghosts, ghouls, goblins and witches return to rule the night.

My trick-or-treat days are long gone.

That’s OK.

But I’ll never forget one particular Halloween when my parents and I visited some relatives in the sleepy town of Rolesville. We had intended to spend just the afternoon with them and return home once it got dark.

For some reason, we stayed longer than expected.

As the witching hour grew nearer, my cousin disappeared into her bedroom. I could hear laughter and music, and wondered what she was doing.

Of course, she locked her door.


Not for long, though.

My mom walked down the hallway and turned me toward my aunt’s bedroom. Since I didn’t have a costume and mom wanted me to have some fun, she and my aunt pulled out an old wooden chest that had been tucked away in the back of a closet.

The lid creaked as they opened it.

Mom pulled out a wig.

My aunt grabbed an old black jacket.

They discovered a red handkerchief.

An old pair of scuffed workbooks stood in one corner of the chest.

“OK, hit the bath tub, kiddo,” mom said.

“Uh, mom. We didn’t bring any clothes,” I said.

“It’s all right. We’re going to dress you up,” mom said.

“In that stuff, no way!” I said.

I could go on with the conversation, but as you know, moms always win.

Splish, splash.

I climbed out of the tub, dried myself off, put on my underwear and T-shirt and headed back to my aunt’s room. She sat me down in front of her mirror and started to apply makeup.

“Awww mom, do I have to?” I asked.

She said nothing.

They talked as my aunt worked on my face.

The next thing I knew, I looked like a clown. I scrunched up my face and started to laugh. My aunt joined in and mom plopped that disaster of a wig, which looked more like a rat’s nest, on my head.

I put on the jacket, stepped into a pair of my cousin’s tattered jeans and laced up the work boots. Mom handed me a broken broom stick and tied the handkerchief to the end.

I turned around and looked in the mirror.

“Hello, hobo. Where you headed?” my aunt inquired.

I remember mom took some pictures and to this day, none of us can find them anywhere.

I do remember the smile on my mom’s face, the hearty laughter of my dad and uncle, and the great time we had trick-or-treating that night.

I’d do it all over again.


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