OPINION: A Halloween for the history books

Joe & Linda Skinner
Free Press Opinion Columnists
Joe Skinner
Staff Photo |

S HE SAID: Well, Halloween certainly lived up to its bizarre billing. I was talking on the phone, looking at a computer document when an eerie screeching emanated from the side of the couch near me. I approached the area cautiously with Pepper, our 40-pound Aussie mix, bouncing around behind me. I was confronted by a large, mad, brown hen that was trying to burrow behind the couch. Pepper kept making lunges, but the chicken “howl” unnerved her, too, causing her to keep her distance.

The lady on the phone was in Manhattan, N.Y. I can only guess what she was thinking when I explained to her I had a chicken in my house and would call her back. The hen appeared half dead when I put her in a large box. There was a bloody spot on her back so I thought the worst. I took the poor thing, which was beginning to revive, back to the owner who was not quite sure what to do with her either. The chicken survived, albeit without quite a few feathers. Thankfully, Pepper was not large enough to cause much damage. What I have not figured out was how Pepper managed to wrangle the hen through the dog door and downstairs without my noticing anything amiss.

Things were more serious later that day when I was taking some students to the Math and Science Center. We were sitting in the turn lane, just about to go when someone rammed into our rear with a huge bang. It took a minute to realize what had happened and check on the kids. I exited the car to talk to the other driver when he fled. Fortunately, someone else noticed what had happened and followed the other car to where it stopped two blocks later, its hood up and steam spewing. I noticed the man talking to some other people as I was dialing 911. To my amazement, he slammed the hood back down and sped off again. Thank goodness there are still people who are willing to help. The first man got the license plate number and gave a description to the police. The two women who had talked to the man thought he was drunk. He drove off when they said they would call the police to help him. The police are looking for him and I am checking my rear view mirror much more frequently. I do not like Halloween much as it is and this experience just amplified that feeling.

HE SAID: You certainly had quite a day. I believe every day is a gift. Some gifts come wrapped in duct tape and you can hardly open them. Some come with bows and glitter. And yet others are disguised as a jack-in-the-box that jumps out and scares you. The chuckles of the chicken story will stay with us for a long time. The anger and fear generated by the hit-and-run driver will probably never abate fully.

No matter what we do we can never plan a life that is free of surprises and shocks. We have to accept what the fickle finger of fate deals us sometimes, but by being flexible and adaptable we can overcome most things. Also, we can be happy we live in the United States when these things happen and we can receive help. Because our country is great, I get so tired of the people who are bashing it, and I don’t mean those who live outside the U.S. The hatred spewed forth by some of our citizens should not be tolerated in any reasonable society, but instead of shutting these haters off, they are allowed to spew their venom on 24-hour media outlets, day after day.

SHE SAID: It always amazes me how you manage to find your soapbox! As Halloween clearly demonstrated, there are many things beyond our control. But, we can choose not to listen to these haters and urge others to do the same. Which leaves us with the philosophical question — if a Rush Limbaugh is speaking and no one is listening, does anyone hear a sound?

HE SAID: Ah, yes, some people can drink from a beautiful mountain spring and by the time they are done complaining, it is like they ingested a cesspool. I can sure turn a deaf ear.

The Skinners hope you find the beauty in life and turn off the doomsdayers and whiners. They can be reached at

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