I finally have something to say and I’m a little spooked about it

Has it really been since the first week of August since I posted anything here?

More than two months of nothing?

Zilch for 11 weeks?

Nada for 77 freakin’ days?

I’ve got to get better at this blogging thing.

In case you were worried by my online silence, my ID badge still unlocks the doors at work. And this week, management even let me renew my benefits for next year, so it seems likely that I will remain employed for the time being.

Also, I still have my health. I’ve even lost a little weight since the last time I posted here. Not enough, mind you. It’s not like I’m walking our big dog Rodney around the neighborhood with my pants slipping down around my butt. But while I’ll never be that fashionable (as I am often reminded by my wife and kids), at least I can cinch my belt a notch tighter around my waist. A small victory over middle age.

As I type this in the comfort of my favorite chair, I’m trying to think of how to catch you up on what’s been going on around my neighborhood. Yes, the kids are back in school, but you knew that. Our teenage daughter has her plate full with classes, show choir and this fall’s high school play. I assume her gregarious older brother is busy entertaining his fellow members of the West Virginia University Marching Band, but I don’t know for sure. He never calls home. My wife and I are going with the “no news is good news” style of parenting a college kid. At least, he’s not asking for money.

Let’s see, casting a wider net – the neighborhood mom-walkers wearing their sensible reflective vests are still marching up and down our street each morning. Working guys with hammers are putting new shingles on a house that Rodney and I stroll by each day, and the neighborhood is showing enthusiasm for Halloween. Signs pointing the way to candy have turned up outside some homes. Faux spider webs have been draped over shrubbery at others. And pumpkins and tasteful arrangements of fall mums are on display, including the one my wife put together on our front stoop.

Several doors down from our house, there’s a wooden pallet leaning against a tree. It’s been painted pumpkin orange and its black eyes seem to have a twinkle in them. At another house, the inhabitants have stuffed pumpkin-themed trash bags with leaves and left them to haunt the yard for the holiday.

One thing we look forward to each year is the neighborhood haunted trail. It’s created by the owners of a home at the head of our corner of town. As an added attraction this year, some newcomers to the neighborhood have placed a sign in front of their house promising a haunted hotel. I somehow doubt they’re really taking reservations, though.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I like to kindle a fire in our portable fire pit to keep warm while I hand out candy on the front stoop.

This year, however, I’m spooked about the whole thing. My enemies, the neighborhood deer, have been curiously absent for the past several days. They usually trail Rodney and me while we’re on our walks. And they are often stationed outside our house when I leave for work and probably know exactly when I arrive back home. They’ve had me under surveillance for years, the better to destroy what’s left of our garden. But now they are nowhere to be found.

The change in strategy makes me jumpy, but that may be a good thing what with trick-or-treating scheduled for Tuesday night. They may have eaten our hostas down to their nubs, but I’ll be damned if I’ll surrender the candy bowl without a fight.

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