Where the Dead Fern Grows


Today’s classic A&J from ten years ago is a scene playing out over much of the country, right down to the lizards. Today is Halloween, my father’s birthday. When I was a boy, our house had two front doors, one to the den, where everyone lived their waking moments, and one to the living room, where no one ventured. On Halloween, trick-or-treaters would be lured straight down the front walk to the lights of the den, ignoring the dark fork in the walk that veered right and led to the other front door. That part was shielded from the street by a tall boxwood hedge. My father would sit behind the hedge in a lawn chair, just out of the light, invisible to the hordes of little extortionists. When they rang the bell and waited, my father would speak softly, in his baritone voice, “Hey.” If any remained, he would give them candy. To his son the budding writer, it was a lesson in the power of understatement. Happy Birthday, you ol’ ghoul! You haunt me every day.

Buy the new book, "Beaucoup Arlo & Janis!"Today's "Arlo & Janis!"

17 thoughts on “Where the Dead Fern Grows

  1. Halloween’s the Best!
    Our neighbors son knew all the kids that lived in the area. One year he hid up in the tree in their front yard & would softly say the name of each child as they approached the house. At the same time he lowered a small sheet like a ghost floating in the air. There were a lot of believers in ghosts that Halloween!!

  2. My husband’s birthday is also today. He hates Halloween as all he ever got as a child was a Halloween themed present/card. We will eat dinner and sit in the dark watching tv tonight so no one comes to our door.

  3. Halloween can be great with kids as it was with my kids and grandson. But I don’t like it as much with adults, certainly in the workplace. A few people dressed up for Halloween and asked me what my costume was and I told them a grumpy old man! lol

  4. BTW, if anyone is curious as to my health as a reason for my posting again suddenly it is not my back, I am still doing well since my two surgeries…just have had enough of lurking, I guess….good health and well being to the Village denizens.

    SF understood

  5. Glad to hear from you Symply.

    Looks like Halloween might be a wash in Tulsa. Forecast has a chance of rain and it has been getting steadily darker since just after noon. No matter, for me anyway, as I don’t plan to open the door.

  6. Ghost and I have a huge bowl of kiddy candy and some Hershey and M a d M which we are eating. We ate the Mounds already.

    There were hundreds of kids down trick or treating in Main Street when we drove into town late today. We may not have any.

    Halloween is a favorite holiday of mine.

  7. Fargone neighbors kids are sick so we did not buy any candy, Symply thought we got off scot free, but Polly cmes tripping over the house after work all dressed up as Charlie Chaplin and with a bag of candy she absolutely refuses to take home…so now i’m stuck with some candy….