31 October 2007

all hallows eve...weather, fun, food, & a ghost story!

quick update before the regularly scheduled post...Little Man has a new thing going on over at his blog ~~ Wild Weather Wednesday! be sure to check it out! (his momma said! ;)

HAPPY HALLOWE'EN!!! (the link is special bloggy trick or treat for all who visit today!)

or should i say Howl-oween!? (visit phil to see how he is celebrating the occasion...light the candle in the jack-o-lantern...
don the mask...don't be scared...well, ok, be a little scared...

time for some stories as you sip your cider & munch your roasted pumpkin seeds...what!? you don't know how to roast pumpkin seeds? well, before the stories, let's prepare our treat for what's cooking wednesday...

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (courtesy fisheaters)

2 cups pumpkin seeds (approx.)
2 T. melted olive oil (approx.)
salt to taste
optional: garlic powder; cayenne pepper; seasoned salt; Worcestershire Sauce; Cajun seasoning; or Hot Spice Mix (1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 2 tsp. chili powder)...we used salt, pepper & garlic powder

preheat oven to 300° F. toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the melted butter or oil and any optional ingredients of your choice. spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking sheet. bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy. store airtight.now gather round...

why do we carve jack-o-lanterns, dress up, & go door to door on this night? one of my favorite websites ~ fisheaters ~ pulls together the traditions...something this irish/french/english family truly appreciates...

<<For those who do want to celebrate Hallowe'en, customs of this day are a mixture of Catholic popular devotions, and French, Irish, and English customs all mixed together. From the French we get the custom of dressing up, which originated during the time of the Black Death when artistic renderings of the dead known as the "Danse Macabre," were popular. These "Dances of Death" were also acted out by people who dressed as the dead. Later, these practices were moved to Hallowe'en when the Irish and French began to intermarry in America.

From the Irish come the carved Jack-o-lanterns, which were originally carved turnips. The legend surrounding the Jack-o-Lantern is this:
There once was an old drunken trickster named Jack, a man known so much for his miserly ways that he was known as "Stingy Jack," He loved making mischief on everyone -- even his own family, even the Devil himself! One day, he tricked Satan into climbing up an apple tree -- but then carved Crosses on the trunk so the Devil couldn't get back down. He bargained with the Evil One, saying he would remove the Crosses only if the Devil would promise not to take his soul to Hell; to this, the Devil agreed. After Jack died, after many years filled with vice, he went up to the Pearly Gates -- but was told by St. Peter that he was too miserable a creature to see the Face of Almighty God. But when he went to the Gates of Hell, he was reminded that he couldn't enter there, either! So, he was doomed to spend his eternity roaming the earth. The only good thing that happened to him was that the Devil threw him an ember from the burning pits to light his way, an ember he carried inside a hollowed-out, carved turnip.

From the English Catholics we get begging from door to door, the earlier and more pure form of "trick-or-treating." Children would go about begging their neighbors for a "Soul Cake," for which they would say a prayer for those neighbors' dead. Instead of knocking on a door and saying the threatening, "Trick-or-treat" (or the ugly "Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat"), children would say either:
A Soul Cake, a Soul Cake, have mercy on all Christian souls for a soul cake!
Soul, soul, an apple or two, If you haven't an apple, a pear will do, One for Peter, two for Paul, Three for the Man Who made us all.
While Soul Cakes were originally a type of shortbread, it is said that a clever medieval cook wanted to make Soul Cakes designed to remind people of eternity, so she cut a hole in the middle of round cakes before frying them, thereby inventing donuts! Fresh plain cake donuts would be a nice food to eat on this day

(entire portion in quotes courtesy fisheaters)

what would all hallow's eve be without a ghost story or two? sognatrice alerted me last weekend to mental mosaic's blog carnival just in time for hallowe'en...it happens that i do have one "ghost" story of my own to contribute...

the year that i turned 3 holds my very earliest memories. for a time i did not believe these memories to be true, but when i bravely shared them with my mother as a teenager, her reaction told me that i did indeed have those early memories. i recalled things that were not ever talked about due to my mother' great grief from that period.

a few months before my 3rd birthday my momma's mother passed away. my mother was an only child & she shared a very close, special relationship with her mother. her grief was profound according to everyone in the family. i am certain that it is because of the emotionally charged nature of that time i am able to recall very vivid incidents, including the private family time at the funeral home before my grandmother's funeral Mass.

grandmother died in april. the summer that followed holds my next memory. my momma had just taken me out of the bathtub & wrapped me in a towel, placing me on a chair beside the tub. she was leaning into the tub & i had a clear view into the hallway that lead to my childhood bedroom. in the flash of a moment i saw my grandmother literally float toward my bedroom. she was a beautiful, calming presence of blue light to my child self. i clearly knew it was her & wanted to go to her. in my innocense i mentioned it to my own momma, who promptly grabbed me tightly & held on, letting her tears flow.

later she was telling my daddy about it & she mentioned that in the moment before i spoke, she felt a cool breeze pass over her...a breeze that did not make sense to her as there was no fan, no open window (for fear of me geting a chill), & it was a hot summer evening.

i don't pretend to understand or explain what happened, but i could never deny that my 3 year old self did indeed see my grandmother one last comforting time. & she was beautiful.


sognatrice said...

What a wonderful story! My mother insists that she saw my dad's grandmother walk by our house, plain as day, wrapping her sweater tightly around her against the cold air...a few weeks after she passed away. I completely believe.

And great pumpkin seed recipe. Yum!

Ackworth Born said...

well well more pumpkins - my other blog Hyde DP has links to over 60 pumpkins posts today - am not adding more though!

mental mosaic said...

Thanks again for contributing to True Spooks. And boy do those pumpkin seeds look good! :)

Karina said...

Wonderful story! I definitely believe in "spirits", ghosts, or whatever you want to call them, and their presence among us...especially loved one, letting us know they are okay.

OH, and that pumpkin? CREEPY! (in a good way)

Roam2Rome said...

That was a very sweet story :) Ah, and you reminded me again that I want to make those pumpkin seed!

Happy Halloween! :)

rochambeau said...

You are very lucky to have seen your grandmas spirit and to therefore allow your mother to feel her presence too. Children are much more connected to God.

Happy Halloween and may the Piacere of God follow you forever!

Beckie said...

Great Story!

Love those pumpkin seeds - I made some (yours look better...!)

Karen Cole said...

What a wonderful story.

I am amazed at all of the wonderful stories out there today.

Great dog trick, BTW!!!!

Happy H :-)

somepinkflowers said...

you DID see your grand-mother,
you did...


how loverly!
do not be afraid!

Cre8Tiva said...

lovely history lesson...have we danced yet...hope you having a ghoulish day...blessings, rebecca

Pam said...

What a lovely memory and how comforting it must have been for both you and your mom.

I love your blogs, by the way -- have much exploring still to do!

Frances said...

Wow I felt as if I went to a Halloween party!
Phil is to cute in the photo.
Can we add that to group photos?
Waving at you from New York,

qualcosa di bello said...

sognatrice...i believe it too!

ackworth...fabulous collection of pumpkins...what a treat to visit! (love your blogs, all of them)

tui...you are much obliged...thank you for hosting a fantastic event!

karina...i totally agree...i could just feel the reassurance in my experience. that pumpkin...is big bro in disguise! ain't he cute??

roamer...get thee to roasting!!

constance...thank you for the lovely soulfelt words...i do indeed feel blessed in what i saw/felt.

beckie...i cannot stop eating them!!

karen...phil was very happy to accomodate my sick halloween humor for the sake of the blog...what a good boy!

spf...you bet i did!! FYI today is grandma's birthday too. what a wonderful lady! :D

rebecca...i did indeed dance with a costumed artist!

frances...most certainly...he is, as i note, very accomodating!