Friday, October 30, 2009

Cabbage Night

When I was a kid in 1960s Saratoga Springs, the night before Halloween was called Cabbage Night. Older kids and teenagers would leave the house armed with rolls of toilet paper, dozens of eggs, and shaving cream. Parents hesitantly allowed them go, with the diluted warning “Don’t get in to trouble!” The next morning, streamers of toilet paper were draped from the branches of trees. Car windows sported smashed eggs, the shells shattered and glued in runny transparency. Shaving cream, as if whipped graffiti, personalized the transgression. Jack-o-lanterns were violently smashed by the curb. (Smart parents pulled their pumpkins in before the tricksters went out for the night.) I remember, as a kid, seeing the remains of victimized pumpkins, and mourning for them. I tried not to look, to avert my eyes from the grisly reality that people do such things. It was as if someone had entered my home and chopped my Christmas tree in half. It was wrong.
Cabbage Night was something to be gotten through. I am, to this day, relieved when it is over.

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