A Visitor on Halloween

Does this man look too young to be their grandpa?

Does this man look too young to be their grandpa?

My father-in-law is visiting from Buffalo, New York. It’s the first time he’s met the baby. He was planning to come last year but he got sick with throat cancer.

He’s much better now. His hair has grown back more thickly since he had chemo. It’s also changed color. He used to have sandy, auburn, mostly straight hair that was flecked with gray. The hair that has grown in is so dark it’s almost black, and now it’s curly.

He has a long scar from his jawline that wraps around part of his neck, where the surgeons cut when they removed the tumor, and he’s waiting for the feeling to come back on the left side of his neck. But he is so healthy now–he goes running every day, lifts weights, does push ups.

“No way!” my friend Janet said when she met my father-in-law at the Co-op yesterday. “You’re way too young to be anyone’s grandfather!”

As we walked away, Jim, Sr. nudged me, “Yeah, what she doesn’t know is that I can’t hear in one ear from the chemo, and that my eyesight’s going too…”

Last year I was miserably pregnant in the Halloween parade, wondering if the baby would be fully grown before making an appearance. It was already a few days past the due date, but I’d still have four more days to go.

This year I walked in the parade with Baby Leone on my back … for about three steps. Leone was so squirmy and unhappy that we turned back. We sat on the grass by the library and nursed. She was a lion, I an African lion hunter (wearing a Nigerian agbada and a man’s hat, wielding my deadly cloth sword.)

Leone fell asleep for the night before it was time to trick-or-treat. For the first time my oldest daughter, who’s 11, trick-or-treated with her friends, leaving her younger sister and brother to fend for themselves. An eyeball and a tree, they raced from house to house, filling their bags with candy.

Etani the Eyeball

Etani the Eyeball

The African Lion Hunter with her Baby Lion

The African Lion Hunter with her Baby Lion

Athena (a tree) and Etani after marching in the parade and trick-or-treating downtown

Athena (a tree) and Etani after marching in the parade and trick-or-treating downtown

What did you and your family do on Halloween?


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