It’s Halloween morning, cool and crisp, just three days before election armageddon, and I head out for a walk with my daughter, wife, and dog.
Sarah and I are dressed casually, kind of like the way I used to dress for Halloween when I was in junior high. In other words, normal slobby Saturday attire. I can still remember those quaint doorstep conversations:
“Trick or Treat.”
“And what are you?”
“I’m a rude and sullen youth. Can I have some of your candy?”
Nancy, however, has dressed for the occasion. She has on her rainbow unicorn onesie. It’s loud. And Farley, the reason for our walk, wants everyone to see him with his saddle and bronco-riding cowboy on his back. It’s more than just cute. It speaks to his quiet nobility and heroic selflessness.
I figure that dressed this outlandishly we’re just going around the block, but I am wrong. We’re headed out for the extended weekend walk. Sometimes we take the route that Nancy refers to as the real estate walk, the route that takes us past the houses that make you want to say, “Wow, if only they’d have an open house. I’d just like to say I walked through that one.”
We don’t go that way, though. Nancy suggests the harbor walk. That route passes some remarkable real estate as well, but it ends with a great view of the Sound and Long Island. Very scenic. It also takes us down the main drag of little Southport village. Farley likes to go that way so that the nice older men who hold court in front of Switzer’s Pharmacy can stop their conversation and say, “Nice looking dog,” Or, “What breed is he? Great Dane?” Or “Nice coat.” Farley likes that.
Today, we imagine that Farley’s outfit might draw a different reaction. Nancy’s too. We figure that in these troubled, unprecedented times, the two of them might inspire a giggle, a snort, or at least a chuckle. It’s the least we could do for our community’s spirit.
We figured wrong. Apparently it takes a lot to rouse the coffee-sipping Southporter having his Saturday schmooze. At each turn, we’re met with the most poker-faced reactions. “Oh, hi, Rainbow Unicorn. [bored voice] Nice horn.”
Or, “Nice looking dog? Nice coat. What’s he? Great Dane? ”
Or to me, “Hey, love the sweats. Nice coat. What’s that? Patagonia?”
Seriously? Don’t you want to chuckle or guffaw? How many Rainbow Unicorns have you seen today walking a pony dog with a rodeo cowboy waving a yellow handkerchief? I mean it’s 9:00 a.m. There can’t have been that many yet.
[Shoulder shrug.] “You know. Seen stranger things.” [sips coffee].