Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Hallowe'en 1988

The clown from hell

Unlike my mother, I was not very good at making Hallowe'en costumes. So it came as a relief the year that my sister-in-law Sharon gave me a costume that Becky had wore. It fit Laurie perfectly and he didn't seem to care either way, so it was decided quite early that Laurie would be a clown for hallowe'en. That is until he spotted a mask in the Arborg Pharmacy.

It was seldom that Laurie demanded that we buy something so I was stunned. In fact, that was the only time I ever remember him refusing to leave a store without getting his way. So I bought him the mask and he ran around the house wearing it every day leading up to Hallowe'en. What I didn't know at the time is that this mask would create a lasting memory, one of those treasured moments in time that become more precious as the years pass.

Since Laurie only cared about wearing the mask there seemed little point in putting much effort into the rest of the costume. It was always cold Hallowe'en night so he'd have to wear his jacket anyway and the clown costume fit over his coat. So that is what he wore. I called him the "clown from hell." We drove throughout the community, stopping at each neighbour's house and Laurie, thinking that nobody recognized him, growled and roared while knarling his fingers and everyone laughed thinking this was very cute. Everyone except for Keith Halldorson.

When we arrived at Halldorson's house, Keith was frying something on the stove so the kitchen was filled with smoke. It is the only time I have ever seen Keith cook, so that in itself was memorable. I have no idea where Dorothy was . . . it was seldom that they weren't home together, and it is hard to imagine that whatever he was frying became edible in the end. But at any rate, as we stepped into the kitchen, Laurie jumped out from behind me and let out his best growl.

Keith took one look and screamed. Really loud. He threw down the spatula and ran right past us, out the side door, and onto the grass. Laurie took off running after him and I followed to watch as Keith ran around in barefeet and track pants, screaming like a girl, waving his arms frantically as he tried to get away with Laurie knashing teeth right behind him. It was dark, cold and after a few moments, the intensity of it all started to get a bit frightening for Laurie. He pulled off the mask and in a quivering voice said, "It's okay Keith, it's just me! Laurie!"

To fully appreciate this story, you had to know Keith Halldorson.
I'm sure glad that I did.

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