Oct 31st 2017 06:14 am 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!"

Posted by jimmyjohnson / Vintage A&J

17 Responses to “Where the Dead Fern Grows”

  1. dave on 31 Oct 2017 at 6:44 am #

    Great story Jimmy!

  2. Carl on 31 Oct 2017 at 7:51 am #

    If you don’t let the lizards in, how are they going to eat the bugs?

  3. Geo on 31 Oct 2017 at 7:52 am #

    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!!

  4. Laura in Upstate NY on 31 Oct 2017 at 8:07 am #

    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.

  5. TruckerRon on 31 Oct 2017 at 8:49 am #

    My Halloween experiences were, thankfully, nothing like this kid’s:


  6. Chris on 31 Oct 2017 at 9:21 am #

    Nice story about your dad, Jimmy.

  7. Steve from Royal Oak, MI on 31 Oct 2017 at 10:55 am #

    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

  8. dAVE on 31 Oct 2017 at 11:37 am #

    My youngest daughter’s birthday is today as well.
    Excellent story, Jimmy.

  9. emb on 31 Oct 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    Elder son’s b’day = 19 Jan. May have been conceived on Paul Revere Day. Peace,

  10. Symply Fargone on 31 Oct 2017 at 1:35 pm #


  11. Symply Fargone on 31 Oct 2017 at 1:37 pm #

    Been trying to Fargone post since last night, lost the post now but this Symply worked…

  12. Symply Fargone on 31 Oct 2017 at 1:37 pm #

    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

  13. Mark from TTown on 31 Oct 2017 at 1:50 pm #

    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.

  14. Anonymous on 31 Oct 2017 at 5:46 pm #

    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.

  15. Symply Fargone on 31 Oct 2017 at 9:25 pm #

    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….

  16. emb on 01 Nov 2017 at 6:14 am #

    Glossy ibis, if still there.



  17. JACKQULINE MONIES on 01 Nov 2017 at 8:58 am #

    New post from Jimmy. Go back to today.