By MIKE WEST
Fall, and in particular Halloween, is just about my favorite time of year.
I guess it's time to hang up my favorite Halloween costume. Dang gone it!
I've already tried to talk my daughter into making one final round, but her husband said she's a bit too old. And when it comes down to it, I'm a bit too lazy and too cheap to decorate the house and hand out candy.
So it goes….
While I probably will be allowed to pitch hit a bit on all Hallows Eve, I've gotta be content with past memories like my devil costume from Texas.
Yep, that goes back a year or two…
This story began with my famous late Uncle Jack, who was a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne back in the day.
While the details are foggy (depending on who tells the story), but Uncle Jack was jumping from an airplane and got tangled with another parachutist.
His leg was seriously injured and he was transported to an Army Medical Facility in Texas for treatment.
In those days, Texas was a long, long, long ways a way and you didn't even dream of flying. So my Dad and his sisters, Helen and Dorothy, headed to Texas by car. It was a heck of hike in the days before air conditioning.
Well, it seemed like they were gone forever, but eventually, they returned home a little worse for the wear and loaded with photos and souvenirs.
What I remember best was they brought gifts.
My brother Van and I received a Mexican-style sombrero and a genuine Halloween costume each. There were more gifts, but that's what I remember. Oops, almost forget that huge orange pumpkin. Tennessee pumpkins were a sort of pale color back in those days. This pumpkin was ORANGE.
The hats were great, but the Halloween costumes were unbelievable.
My costume was the devil complete with tail and a mask with horns. It was horrifying. I was afraid to be in the same room with it.
My brother's costume was a little, black cat with golden highlights.
There was no way in the world he was gonna wear that friendly little mask.
Tears flowed when my Mother got us to try them on.
Somewhere is a classic photo of the West boys standing next to the front porch next to the huge pumpkin that came from Texas. It was a monster!
And you can still smell the fear from that photo.
But we managed to go trick or treating collecting candy, apples and other treats. And we were wearing REAL costumes. They were real. No other neighborhood kids had such a luxury.