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November 26, 2020

Worthy to Print Column: Halloween Fun

By George Worthy, Gonzales Columnist

We have been living through some perilous times. I have heard from my relatives, my friends and even some neighbors. Things are not as they should be. Maybe this election will change us for the better. Maybe they will have a vaccine for this terrible virus. Let’s hope that it comes soon.

Last night was Halloween, and though we didn’t give out candy last night, the children certainly didn’t suffer too much. The city and all the folks that work there went out of their way to create a nice safe party that allowed the children to get some candy and generally have a good time. I understand that they had a drive-in movie at Centennial Park last night. That was, in my opinion, the best thing that they could have done to keep the kids safe and perhaps remind their parents how it had been before television took over the world.  

I don’t know how many folks that went to that drive-in had ever been to a drive-in movie, when there was a drive-in movie in just about every little town over in the San Joaquin Valley. In the days when I was attending drive-in movies, it was perhaps the most entertaining evening you could have, for the money you spent. I mean, no one paid to get in that could fit in the trunk. I love living in this town where a drive-in movie is entertainment for the kids as well as the parents. 

Let’s hope that those do-dos in Washington and Sacramento will get things fixed, so we can venture out and be as safe as our kids were last night. Nobody got into serious trouble and only one or two private parties that had to be warned to disperse. There were no other incidents that I heard of. I would say we had a safe evening and everyone had a good time. I am constantly amazed at what this town does for our children in order to get them safely through the night where hobgoblins are on every corner. Good job Gonzales! The staff, the council and all the volunteers that helped are truly a great example for our kids and our families. 

It was quite a bit different from my early recollections of running around looking for trouble. In Wasco, there was no store open where you could buy eggs on Halloween. I should point out that there were stores that sold eggs, but if you were a young troublemaker, it was like you were underage and trying to buy beer or something. It wasn’t against the law, but since there were only three stores in town that even sold eggs, they pretty much policed themselves. Now you know I didn’t mess around with the older kids who actually had small wars with eggs. 

Riding around lying down in the bed of dad’s pickup was just too tempting for young warriors trying to have fun. Or rather, what they thought was fun. The driver would drive very carefully and when they saw a pickup from another town they would have to let the interlopers know that they had to be on their best behavior to cruise down our main street. Otherwise, we would follow them to the nearest four-way stop sign and the air would be full of white, harmless missiles that landed on each other or the other pickup with a splat. Nobody got hurt, but we knew we would had to have our parents pick us up at the police station if we were caught. Thank goodness we were able to cut through yards and run faster than the police.

When I think back, I see that we kids thought it was great fun, but the law enforcers felt they had to keep order. I won’t lie to you, there were nights when the devil was out and whispering in our young innocent ears that drinking one beer or throwing an egg or two had to be fun. You know the devil isn’t smart because he is the devil. He is smart because he is so old. He is just old, and when you get really old, you learn things. Like how to mess with a young mind that would be in Sunday school every weekend but Halloween was special. 

The devil was whispering in all the kids’ ears. After working hard on the local farms all week, it was time to have some release of all that teenage energy. I guess the grownups just didn’t understand that there had to be one night of the year when the kids could sort of come as close as possible to getting in trouble, but always stopped short as long as no person or property was hurt. Truthfully, the worst thing that could happen was to get caught and taken to the little police building while the officers would call your parents to come and get you. 

Now let me tell you, calling our parents was worse than anything else they could do. Almost all the families that lived in Wasco were farmers of some type. They worked hard. Up before the sun and didn’t come home until after dark. They worked and wanted to rest at night. Getting out of bed to go get their sons at the police station was not funny in any way to them. Thank goodness I was one of the “good” sons. I never had to have my parents come and get me. No kidding! You can call my older brother up in Idaho and ask him! Uh huh!

God Bless.

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