Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween - my favorite holiday

I went to the funeral of a work friend that died of a brain tumor way too young with two little kids on Thursday. I got the news that our remaining cat is dying and we need to put her down and a friend's marriage is dying and it's also getting "put down". I was really sad yesterday. Halloween is always my favorite holiday and we'd invited the neighbors over for dinner. I really wasn't in the mood.

Pagans believe that the dead intermingle with the living on Samhain (Halloween). We Catholics saw a good marketing opportunity in capitalizing on pagan feasts, so in 835, Pope Gregory IV moved the celebration for all the martyrs (later all saints) from May 13 to November 1. The night before became known as All Hallow’s Even or “holy evening.” Eventually the name was shortened to the current Halloween. On November 2, the Church celebrates All Souls Day. The purpose of these feasts is to remember those who have died, whether they are officially recognized by the Church as saints or not. It is a celebration of the “communion of saints,” which reminds us that the Church is not bound by space or time.

Interestingly, among all this sadness, there was joy. We had a lovely dinner of scary looking food and it was such a warm starry night we sat outside while the kids trick or treated for the first time all by themselves. Our house is in the darkest part of the neighborhood, deep in the woods and up the hill, so we don't get lots of trick or treaters. They tend to congregate in the "pasture palace" close packed end of the subdivsion where there's no trees and a greater return on their labor. As a kid, I would have done the same thing. Despite this, I still fire up the smoke machine, carve the pumpkins, hang up the orange lights and hope someone can enjoy the show. Sitting on a kitchen chairs drinking one of my favorite wines with my neighbors and later on eating Dexter Cider Mill donuts around the bonfire, I certainly found life among the dying.

Here's a recipe from last night...

Monster Dip

1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 pkg. ranch dip mix
1 10 oz. box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 can water chestnuts, diced
1/2 cup red pepper, diced

For serving
1 round loaf sourdough or Italian bread
1 baguette, sliced

Mix all dip ingredients together and chill. In the round loaf, carve a large mouth and hollow it out. Make a face out of garnishes, and fill the monsters mouth with the dip. Serve with baguette slices.


Laura said...

Beautifully, beautifully written. I'm so sorry about your cat! Having had to do the same with three different cats, I know how awful it feels, even when the cat in question is suffering and it is probably an act of mercy. I can still vividly remember the feel of my last cat's ear between the pads of my fingers, and the accompanying rumble of her purr.

TennZen said...

Ooh, I love the dip recipe - never thought of using water chestnuts.

I am very sorry to hear about your cat and all the sad things going on with those around you. I wish you and yours much comfort during the trying times. It is very hard to let go.