“Do you think you could throw that high?” I asked my older brother, Park, pointing at a stream of toilet paper draped over the top of a giant oak. “I bet I could!” I set down my candy bucket, squatted, cocked back my arm, and sprung into the air, my puny arm launching the imaginary toilet paper roll over the moon.
Our family was out making the rounds collecting candy. I and my brothers, ahead on the sidewalk, jogged with our Jack-O-Lantern buckets knocking our knees with every stride. Between houses with porch lights on, I admired the toilet-papering job of my friends who were allowed to go out that night on their own and launch toilet paper into the towering trees in the big dark yards.
The next house was a screened-in front porch with an old couple sitting out front. A scrawled cardboard sign out on the sidewalk advertised “Hot Dogs.” None of our family knew what to do. Finally my daddy got up the courage.
“Yall have hot dogs in there?”
“Yes! Come on in!”
“No charge, yall just come in and we’ll get you set up!”
The smell of the boiled hot dogs—all wrapped in foil and lined up in perfect rows in an ice chest—swam up through the humid glowing air each time the man opened it to fetch out another. On a TV tray set up next to them were ketchup and mustard, crusted around their caps, and a relish bottle lying on its side, the yellow-green juice splattered from others who had dressed their hot dogs that night.
My family would carry that memory with us for years after. In the subsequent years we never missed The Hotdog Man. Daddy told stories to our friends and family about it. And each time that holiday comes around, I wonder if I could become to the local trick-or-treaters what that weird old couple was to me as a child. Strange. Smelly. The jolly character in a bizarre childhood memory.
Tell us your story! Scan the QR code or go to http://goo.gl/ptoxeQ to share a Halloween memory of your own. Sam will go through the submissions and choose the best three to five to be featured in the Halloween issue of The Threefold Advocate.
Winners will receive a prize!