tricks and treats

Last Sunday's storm put so many of us out of power that town's Halloween celebrations were postponed until last night. So when five o'clock rolled around, I dressed Calvin in his best camouflage and walked him down to Woody's with his buddy Mary holding his other hand. We visited three other neighbors where Calvin managed to grab pieces of candy from each bowl, then attempted to put them into his mouth, wrapper and all. Though we hit half as many houses as we did last year, it was his best evening of trick-or-treating in his three-year history of going door to door, even with a boot splint on his left foot protecting a recent injury.

When Calvin was done, Michael and I snuck out for a date. As dusk fell we made the ten-minute drive to our friends' young restaurant, Salt Pine Social. There, we sat at the bar imbibing under ornamental lights that reminded me of wrapped candies. I marveled at the gigantic ice cube in Michael's glass of bourbon, one of several dozen that the bartender had painstakingly carved from an entire block of ice. One by one, tasty plates emerged from the kitchen. First, we enjoyed a pâté of bacalhau—the Portuguese word for cod—resting in a spicy tomato sauce with crispy fried mini polenta cakes. Next to arrive was a platter of local oysters on the half shell accompanied by an exquisite glass of madeira, all compliments of the chef. In between dishes our hosts stopped over to visit and to bestow us with hugs and kisses. After we had gobbled down the mollusks, we supped on plump grilled octopus, poached turnip and shaved radish disks steeped in ovgolemono broth. As we were finishing that dish along came another comp from the chef: a parchment-lined basket of tempura-fried avocado wedges with lime and chipotle remoulade (my mouth is watering just writing this). We finished with a medallion of monkfish liver the color of yams or dark pumpkin, served with dainty pickled blackberries, fried rice crisps, pear nuggets, jalapeño, charred cucumber and a drizzling of tangy ponzu sauce.

As we dined, I expressed my gratitude both silently and out loud for our many fortunes in this life—for having gotten our heat back within two days of the storm, for the huge tree having missed our house, for having the luxury of drinking at a bar and eating scrumptious food in a handsome establishment, for lovely friends and generous hosts, for colorful light fixtures that look like candies or planets and stars, for Calvin's friend and caretaker Mary, for gauzy scarves from Paris and sexy shirts from Salvation Army, for reliable, comfortable cars, for beautiful gardens, for Calvin slowly coming off of benzodiazepine, for cannabis as his medicine, for a boy who is making strides and seems to be getting incrementally better by the day, for kind and loving neighbors, for a Halloween free from seizures or hospitals or accidents or surgeries.

Back at home, the large bowl of candy we had left out with a note asking children to "please take just one or two" was empty. Knowing full-well seventy children had not come by, no doubt someone had absconded with the sweets. Woody told me later that he'd seen a group of teenage boys lurking around the porches of those of us who had left candy in our absence. We had been tricked, even though we had offered them treats in return for mercy. In the scheme of things, though, and in recounting so many fortunes, I thought to myself, it's a first-world problem.

Photo by Mary Booth Scarpone

1 comment:

  1. When a loving, familiar face walks through the door it's the best treat of all! It was so nice to see you both enjoying an evening out and to sneak a few minutes to visit. xoxo