Trick or Treat

On Halloween, our neighbourhood was pretty busy with lots of mums, dads and children in fancy dress going from house to house for candy. I was in fact surprised by how many there were because our neighbourhood is not exactly flush with kids. Then I found out that many of these ‘Halloweeners’ were in fact Mexican families from poorer districts who had come by. I found this quite touching: it was sweet to see the glow on the children’s faces as they were given a treat.
When I and Mattie returned from ‘trick or treating’ later that evening, Mike announced that the candy bowl he had been dishing out to children was empty. We therefore ‘encouraged’ Mattie to put half of her loot into it for late evening callers; she grumbled a little but did so and it was gone in 15 minutes.
At my Spanish class the following evening, our teacher brought yet more goodies left over from a Halloween party she had attended. Each time we asked a question, or gave a response, in perfect Spanish we were offered the candy bowl! I like our teacher, Rosalinda, very much. In her early sixties, this tiny Mexican woman has a big booming voice and a very engaging personality. During the classes she often relates an amusing anecdote about her (much younger) American husband, and to me the pair (he comes in at the end of the evening) make a good double act. A few weeks ago, Rosalinda revealed that her ambition, when she shortly retires, is to babysit for her first grandchild. The problem: her only daughter (who lives in San Antonio) is forty and has just completed her final IVF treatment. Rosalinda asked us to pray for good news. If it is not, I have it in mind to give her daughter a copy of my book, Dear Mummy, Welcome. Who knows – out of bad news might come good.
That is the way I have viewed the recent hurricane disaster that has hit New York and surrounding areas. In a long and extremely divisive election campaign we have finally seen Republicans – in the form of New Jersey Governor Christie, and New York Mayor Bloomberg – come together with Democrats: in recent days, Christie has praised Obama effusively for his handling of the crisis; and Bloomberg, believing Obama to be a better option than Romney to tackle climate change and women’s rights – has endorsed him for the next term. One can only hope that this last-minute coming together will not only convince undecided voters next Tuesday, but that it will endure throughout the following four years.

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