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How My Grandfather Scared His Little Brother

I like to think I come from a long line of storytellers, and my grandfather on my mother’s side (whom I call Papa) helps me confirm this. When I was younger, he and I would make up stories together; we were the famous detectives, solving all sorts of crazy mysteries that my child-mind concocted. They didn’t make much sense, but what do you expect from a little kid? And I had fun regardless.

I also enjoy hearing stories about his own youth, and I thought today I’d share one of my favorites: the story of how my grandfather scared the living daylights out of his little brother, my great-uncle. I’ll try to relate it as best I can, but it really is his story, and I know I can’t do it enough justice; it’s best to hear it from the man himself.

One night, when Jack and I were kids, we had gone down to the movie theater to catch a show. The picture we saw was “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man,” and I’ll tell you, it was pretty scary.

The movie poster
Terror incarnate on the silver screen in 1943

The theater wasn’t very far from the house where we lived, so when we got out and started back, I started running to get ahead. Jack couldn’t keep up, he kept yelling “Chuck! Chuck! Slow down!” But I kept on going, and got way ahead of him.

Now, our house had an arbor that you walked under to get into the front yard, and when I got there I climbed up on top of the arbor and laid low, so you couldn’t see me from the street, and waited for Jack to get there. Sure enough he comes running up to the house, and he’s real nervous, and right when he starts to walk under the arbor…I jump down in front of him and yell “Rarr!”

And poor Jack, he practically fainted!

My mother and dad were not happy with me about that, but I thought it was hilarious.

The funny thing is, I asked if he would tell the story again, but with my great-uncle present. It was great hearing both of their perspectives. And though they laugh about it now, uncle Jack says he’s never forgiven my Papa for scaring him.


Ascending Into Darkness

October has come. Tonight there was a crescent moon creating a glittering white sheen on the sea, and when the waves broke on the shore they sometimes glowed a mysterious blue color – a phenomena known as algal bloom, or more commonly as red tide.

Red Tide

That's the bluest red I've ever seen!

I find this fitting. October has long been a month I look forward too, as I count down the days ’til All Hallows Eve. I try to get myself in the spooky mood throughout the month, which is not difficult to do with the internet at my fingertips. I’m not much into the horror genre or modern scary movies (too much wanton violence and gore for my taste), but I do love a good eerie atmosphere. There’s a certain magical, nostalgic feeling I get as the 31st gets closer, and I’ll touch on that again as we get further into the month.

Meanwhile, I’ll be digging through the loads of Magic: The Gathering cards I’ve collected during the last couple days. It should come as no surprise that I am an avid casual player of the world’s oldest trading card game. The Innistrad set just came out, and after swearing myself off the game for a few years I’ve caved and went to the launch party. The main selling point for me was that the entire set is themed around Gothic horror – vampires, werewolves, geists, etc. – and not since the Ravnica block have been so pulled to a Magic set solely based on its fluff. Innistrad does this nicely, with Magic blending art and flavor with the rules to make cards that play and feel like the belong in a Gothic setting. I’m pleased to say I did well in the in-store tournament (for those of you that play the game, I drafted red/white) and got into the finals, and today was spent with friends drafting even more cards (this time ending up with blue/black). It was all good fun, but now I feel a touch exhausted and look forward to getting some shuteye.

On a final note, I’ll leave you with a video I took roughly around the same time last year. Much like tonight, it was a natural spectacle I felt signaled the start of October.

Until next time, folks!