Here is a heartfelt Halloween story by my friend Harvey Davis, who just turned 95. The photos are ones I took on a trip to see a friend of my husband’s in Westminster (near Philadelphia). I thought the lawn display was very creative and also think the poem is very touching!
I Held His Hand Tightly
By Harvey Paul Davis, October 2020
Halloween in my household, when I was young, was a miniature trick or treat.
Perhaps in our block or the next we would ring a bell, and candy we would seek.
It was normally a very short night for us, and on a school night, even shorter.
Doing homework, even on Halloween, was always number one – in that order.
I cannot recall why on that particular night my parents were suddenly swayed
To let me and three of my friends venture out; the time to return to be obeyed.
We were free to venture to new doors to knock on and new bells to ring
To see what candy they passed out or what new to our houses we would bring.
For sure, time was flying by while getting our bags full that made us happy as larks.
We realized it was light when we started out, and suddenly it was totally dark.
My parents’ instructions of when to return was not something I could disregard.
I was caught up in the joy of collecting candy, but suddenly my mind was jarred.
My friends were not ready to return home; that caused a dilemma in my mind.
I did not know my way back home, but to stay with them I would have to decline.
Returning to my home was hard to figure out. I did not know to turn “right or left”;
In a neighborhood that I was not familiar with, I found myself totally bereft.
There were two things that set my mind ablaze with fear and concern.
Would I find my way back to my family, for my way back I could not discern?
The second thought was that I had disobeyed my parents, something I did not do.
I was sure that I would receive some punishment, but I realized to me it was due.
I thought I might ask someone to help if I gave my address, but everyone was gone.
Suddenly my mind went into overdrive: would I be wandering and lost until dawn?
It was not the goblins or ghosts of Halloween that sent chills up my spine,
But it was the fear of being lost and not being found that was on my mind.
Now as an adult I realize how a 10-year-old could be out of touch with reality.
Fear has a way, at whatever age we are, that makes us think in terms of finality.
Then I saw a man walking toward me up the street. I would ask him very politely
If he could help me find my way. My father took my hand and I held his tightly.
This poem is from the book I edited for Harvey entitled We the People. It is available on Amazon.