The following is an article my dad wrote recently for a local newspaper. It is just too precious not to share. Enjoy! ~cn
A special Halloween, no thanks to me
About 20 years ago Matthew and I went trick or treating. We joined the several young spookers knocking on doors. But we were a bit different from the preschool and elementary school-age spooks up and down the neighborhood.
I was about 60 and Matthew was about 20.
Matthew was a special patient of mine and a special person as well. Matthew had a rare in-born malady that resulted in very poor lung function, a weak heart and significant developmental delay. Children with his syndrome usually die before age 13.
Mostly because of his parent’s exceptional care, Matthew was alive at 20. He and his parents had dropped by our house for a short visit that Halloween.
I suggested I take Matthew around our neighborhood for his share of the spoils of the evening. As we set out on our rounds, I instructed Matthew. “When someone answers the door say, ‘Trick or treat,’ and hold out your bag. Then say, ‘Thank you.”
At the first house I rang the doorbell and when the door opened Matthew remained mute. After a minute or two he held out his bag and the owner rewarded him with candy. No “Thank you” was evident.
As we left I reminded Matthew, “Remember. Say, ‘Trick or treat’ and hold out your bag and say, ‘Thank you.’” At the next house he forgot his lines again but held out his bag.
At every house the same thing. No words. A bag produced. Candy. No “Thank you.”
Toward the end of our block Matthew became bolder and entered a few houses uninvited and shook hands with everyone there. (Matthew was very big on hand shakes.)
We finished our rounds with a bag full of candy and not a single “Trick or treat” or ”Thank you” uttered.
The next day at church services, Matthew and his parents walked past us as we sat in our accustomed pew. Matthew leaned over toward me and said softly, “Trick or treat.”
Retired pediatrician Bill now spends his days working with wood (“mostly making sawdust”), fishing (“but not very well”), puttering around his garden and writing.