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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”

Scarlet Stone
Posted 11/4/20

Oh Lord, another Halloween has come and gone and I did not outwardly damage any portion of my body this year. It’s fear and trepidation inside instead. Now just get me through COVID and more …

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“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”

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Oh Lord, another Halloween has come and gone and I did not outwardly damage any portion of my body this year. It’s fear and trepidation inside instead. Now just get me through COVID and more so, this election, without slapping anyone or having a stroke from the high blood pressure and I will be amazed. I stayed home alone on Halloween and was calm and sober. I turned off all the lights except my glowing pumpkin decorations and a couple of small parlor lamps. I conversed with my three cats... Colby, Lil’ Bit and Rainy and we ate pizza and watched spooky shows…it was soothing and plain old terrific. I figured most Soudan residents were holding off on tossing out candy this year because of COVID. I knew that the local kids were going to be getting treats from the businesses in Tower, so I didn’t feel as much like a kill-joy not participating. I was not in the mood to try to engineer some pulley-driven, tubed-candy-set-up that stretched from my door down to the sidewalk, but hats off to those who made it work. Let’s face it, age, aggravation, plagues and politics have been getting to me. 
The last couple of years I did participate in Halloween and enjoyed putting on a costume and handing out candy...unlike my mother, who for decades, used to hide in a corner of her basement rosemaling wooden plates because she just did not want to deal with the commotion of passing out candy. Having been a first-grade teacher, she was burned-out on the sugared-up kids she had to deal with the next day in school, plus her one-eyed Welsh Terrier would bark and try to flee out into the wild of the night to run with the pack. Halloween was, simply put, an annoying situation for mother.  
Now, this particular Halloween is exceptionally eerie with the potential onslaught of post-election nightmares that could haunt us for months or even years. We just don’t know what lurks in the shadows. 
 Years ago, back in the 90’s, so many people would go out to the bars on Halloween and it was really fun to see all of the costumes. The penalties for getting caught drinking and driving were at the grade school level compared to what they are now. I don’t ever recall an upcoming election cooling my jets on such good times, but things didn’t always go smoothly and there were prices to pay. I was living in Chisholm back in those days and I remember one year, I nearly ruined my eyes on Halloween. Well of course there was plenty of drinking involved and I think I was wearing a great big nurse costume complete with the stethoscope, stiff white nurse hat, one continuous eyebrow, and some other implements like a procto glove and possibly a rectal thermometer. Props are everything. 
When I got home, giddy after having taken first place at a costume contest, I fell right into bed, stethoscope, glove and all, but forgot to take out my contact lenses. When I woke up the next morning, all dehydrated with my dry blurry eyes, I panicked! My vision was comparable to a bumblebee trying to see through the plastic cover of a coffee can. I did more than buzz; I started to get hysterical, convinced  that I had ruined my eyes. I had gone too far.....again. It was a weekend of course, but I managed to get the phone number of my eye doctor and I called him at home, explaining my tale of woe. I felt so stupid; I mean for crying-out-loud-who ruins their eyes for Halloween? He told me that I had deprived my eyes of oxygen, and instructed me to plop in some eyedrops and the situation would resolve after a few hours. I was grateful, my vision was spared. 
I’m glad I’m not worried about the loss of my eyesight this year, we’ve all got enough on our plates with a pandemic and the presidency.  Halloween used to be a lighthearted holiday but this year the festive spirit of our entire country is strained. There was a time when all it took to change my mood was a great hat, some jewelry, and a fruity cocktail. In so many ways....those were the days!
Speaking of great hats...one year, a girlfriend and I dressed up in Viking women outfits that were an absolute hit.....(but it was probably not an election year, and my interests had not yet changed from partying to politics). Instead of ruining my eyes...it was my knee. We both purchased plastic, horned Viking caps from a local costume shop and found some old fake-fur coats we cut up and draped over our shoulders. Then we added black tunics, leather belts, black leggings and a couple of pairs of mukluks I had on hand....(having been one of the first seamstresses for Steger Mukluks). The jaw-dropping, ingenious part of the costumes was my design for the breast armor. We each bought a set of plastic funnels in a local store’s auto department. My fellow Viking’s set were small and blue, while my funnels were large and red. We spray painted them silver and stitched them to the front of our tops. That night, we whooped it up from one end of Hibbing through Chisholm and ended up at Side Lake where the band was playing louder than Valhalla. I did ask a few ghouls if they “needed an oil change” as I passed through ... hanging on to my funnels as I passed through the bar crowds. I loved playing that part! Later that night when sense had fled faster than a die-hard Democrat at a Minnesota Trump rally, I was jumping up and down, dancing and carrying on in my flat mukluks.... funnels flying, and forgot to bend my knees when I landed and went quickly down on the floor! I knew I had damaged something. There was no blood, only the red plastic gleaming in the tavern lights where paint had been scraped from a funnel.  Immediate pain and swelling followed but the endless string of cocktails helped dull my pain. It turned out I had mashed my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in my left knee and was in a wheelchair using crutches for a good amount of time afterwards. Oddly enough, I have not had any issues with the knee thirty years later! Truly a Viking woman.
So ruining my body over Halloween is NOT  in my cards any longer. I need to keep my knees in order now so I can limp across the street to the Town Hall and vote. I need to be able to pack up, sell my house, and dash off to live in a foreign country if the dark fog of political unrest becomes too dreadful to bear.
As I finish this column...it is Wednesday morning...press day! Halloween has past, COVID has not, and neither has the Trump presidency. In fact he looks to try to remain in the White House partying like a grinning orange pumpkin-headed Halloween character, no matter what the legal outcome of this election is. I need to calm myself at this point and just go forward, Viking woman, take your tenacity, funnels and frocks and GO FORWARD. Irish poet Dylan Thomas said it best.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas, 1947

Scarlet Stone appreciates your comments and can be reached by email at
scarletstone60@gmail.com.

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