Trick or Treat – Czech Style Halloween

IMG_6320(Vsetín, Zlinsky Kraj, Czech Republic)–It’s October already and the leaves are on fire with colors in this part of the world. The hills surrounding Vsetin are multicolored for a time before the leaves disappear all together and the barrenness of the trees wait until the promise of Spring. It’s a long slog but there is always the promise to those who wait patiently. There will be a new beginning and a new season of hope. I can wait and watch. Meanwhile, there is Halloween…

Since the Czech’s don’t celebrate halloween like we do, they have events for the kids in the community. One such event was held last Friday night in a small village about 20 minutes by bus from here (Jablůnka). It involved a sausage roast over a fire pit, music, a costume contest with the little ones and a scary walk in the dark through a forest  full of ghosts and ghouls and vampires and werewolves. It was really scary, even for me. I just wonder what it did to the kids.

As it got darker the walk began. Small groups were spaced about 15 minutes apart so in our group were two families plus my friend from Scotland  and I. We went from station to station and the kids had to answer questions about a fairy tale before we could move on to the next station. The stations each with their unique scary “characters” were spaced a good walking distance apart. The masks the question askers wore were pretty scary and I wondered how the kids would do. Most of the little ones were around 5 or 6. We walked by the Jablůnka graveyard on our way into the forest and it was pretty creepy. In one area that was almost pitch black, people hidden in the woods moved branches and screamed in the dark and even I jumped. I didn’t know where the sound was coming from. (True Dolby surround sound and it was real.) It began to rain about 3/4 of the way but it was short and not too heavy. They don’t have halloween like we do so they do something like this walk. It was great walking through the corn fields and then into the dark forest following the candles and torches (real ones) as the path wound around and then dropped us back in the village. The kids, then, get bags of candy followed by a fire dance and capping it all off with a fireworks show. It was an A-1 hoot. We could never do something like this in the states. It was like a huge haunted house but with trees and fields little fires burning and stuff and lots of walking.

Speaking of Halloween and scary stuff and tricks but no treats…Lumbering into another government shut down week in the states and with the debt level deadline fast approaching, it’s hard to imagine anything can get done without a threat of a disaster. The latest 11th hour proposal about funding for a few weeks is like asking your teacher for an extension of homework due. They knew these things were going to happen before hand, why wait for the last possible moment before starting work? Principled politicians who think they are doing the right thing really aren’t and I think somewhere down deep they know it. I’ve read stories that the Republicans are “holding firm” until they get what they want which has always been to defeat the president at every turn, even when it is good for the country and their own best interests. They say their stance is a matter of pride. But as students of history know, pride is usually the thing that brings the great to their knees. The collective Republican myopia of their decisions (or lack of) have hurt the reputation of the country around the world. Meanwhile, the country suffers and the people suffer. What was once a great political party has now descended into a group of petulant seventh graders who because they cannot change established law (and a decision by the Supreme Court) resort to childish maneuvers and a grandstanding pout. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is here. It’s not perfect but it’s a start. Romney ran on a platform of repealing Obamacare, he lost fair and square. If the laws to repeal the Act do not pass both houses, then it remains law until it can be repealed. That’s the nature, good or bad, of our democracy. Shutting down the government because you cannot repeal a law is juvenile. Where are the jobs the Republicans touted more than once to get elected? I am certain that Lincoln would not recognize the party today under whose banner he was elected President. What bothers me the most, is that they really don’t care about their image. Our representative government is not representing the people. It is time for a real change. Talk of secession from the Union are popping up all over the place, from West Virginia to Colorado. That, like the hard-line Republican talking points is selfish and self-serving.

Where I live, I have no TV to watch the news as it unfolds and only read summaries on-line when I get the chance. That is probably a good thing. But I feel there will be a price to pay come the November elections next year. Republicans call for job creation but it is tactics like these recent ones that will cause higher unemployment and maybe a second recession.

Now that is real scary…

and so it goes…

A little song, a little dance, a little coffee down your pants... 40 years in the high school classroom and now on my own. A chance to think about stuff and how it affects everyone, not just me. Now residing in Oregon volunteering for a refugee organization.

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