Last night we went trick or treating. Packed the little guy up in his Humpty Dumpty costume and struck out in the car.
Living in a rural area, Halloween is a bit different from what it is for those of you living in a neighborhood or city. No door to door here, where there could be close to a mile between houses. Instead there are events, gathering spots, and brief family visits. We hit the stores and the fire department, then moved on to the personal visits. My grandfather. My husband’s boss. A handful of others.
Then we detoured to see Uncle Butch. He lives way off the beaten path, his driveway alone bringing him a half mile away from the county road. I told Quinn not to expect candy. We were only stopping for a minute so Butch and Judy could see him in costume. It was important to me.
Butch isn’t really an uncle at all…he’s my father’s cousin. But they shared a relationship more like that of brothers than of cousins, and when my father died last winter, it was Butch I turned to for help, and to hold the ashes I couldn’t bear to have at home.
He drove the ashes around, took my Dad to the racetrack, to check up on the building projects they’d worked on together and even set him on the table for the first crack of the bat during baseball’s spring training.
I’d only seen Butch a handful of times since the funeral. He reminded me so much of what I missed with my Dad gone. I felt terrible about it, knowing that Butch wanted to be part of Quinn’s life, and knowing my Dad would have wanted it. But it is still, for a while, a bit too raw.
And the Humpty Dumpty thing been going on for a while – well over a year now. It was a constant source of amusement for my Dad, and I knew Butch would get a kick out of the fact that for Halloween, Humpty had prevailed.
So out of the car we tumbled to knock on the door. Butch answered, and seeing the pleasure light up his face, I knew that candy or no, it had been a good call to come, to share this little moment, this little piece of my Dad with him. By bringing my son by for just those few moments, I had given him a gift.
We did hugs and pictures, and Quinn actually scored more candy than he could hold. But since Halloween is for Quinn, we quickly gathered back up and shuffled back to the car.
After I got Quinn all buckled in, I turned to get into the car and Butch stopped me.
“Hey. Do you remember when your father and I replaced the door frame at my father’s old house?”
I did, vaguely, so I nodded, holding the edge of the door.
“I had to replace the cap piece under the gutter the other day. When I took down the old piece of wood a bit of paper fell out. It said, ‘David was here.’ I just thought you’d get a kick out of that.”
“David was here.” Such a little thing, and so like my Dad to tuck away some small, silly thing, in a place no one is likely to ever find it. But it was found.
And I fell apart a little bit, still smiling at the unexpected little piece of my Dad.