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Halloween Black Bird of Love

crow on branch x500 

Here at Local Betty we get a little snarky around Halloween.  But today, no more Bad Betty. We promise you a happy story from Betty the Good Witch.  A heartwarming tale of motherly love…  

Redhead Betty comes from the West, land of political correctness, where the schools have a long list of  taboo Halloween costumes.  It's forbidden to be a hobo {disrespectful to the homeless} a gypsy {insensitive to the plight of the Romany people} a witch {inconsiderate of the Wiccan religion} or a cowboy {contemptuous of …I don't know- the Village People??}

In addition, my mother had her own list of Halloween Glamour Do's and Don'ts:  No cheerleaders, mermaids, super-heroines or kitty cats. Too cute and cuddly, it is Halloween my dear. On her approved list? zombies, mummies, werewolves, banshees or my choice: executioner.  If she taught me that my "job" on Halloween was to be scary, I was going to do it right. Lucky for me, she was [and still is} a brilliant artist, she loved to create.  

Her handstitched costume was a thing of beauty- a sweeping and supple black velvet cape with a hood so deep, so dark, and so menacing that I scared my own self when I put it on. Of course she made a  scythe- not out of flimsy cardboard and tinfoil no, not my mother. The blade was made from a thin sheet of metal- I never once considered that it might be dangerous, but in retrospect, in the hands of a 3rd grader of course it was.  A cafeteria spork was dangerous.    

The finishing touch was a full sized, handmade, handfeathered, black raven. It attached to a silver cuff bracelet and sat menacingly on my forearm, waiting to pick the flesh from the bones of the dead.  Just your average third grade costume. It hung in my room waiting for the glorious day that I, along with the rest of West Mercer Elementary, would line up and parade from room to room; a fabulous rhumba-line of fairy wings, feathers, sequins....and me.

The day finally came. I donned my cape of death, and careened happily, cape flapping behind me, to the school bus. Lunchtime couldn't come fast enough. We lined up at the door and headed out, parading through the school as our classmates sat at their desks clapping and calling out. At the entrance to the 2nd grade hall my beloved teacher Miss Meiggs pulled me aside.  I was too frightening for the younger children, I would have to sit the rest of the parade out.

Was I crushed?  Was my mother mortified? {Was Child Protective Services sent to our door?}  No. We had plotted together, created together, and achieved our plan. If only for a short time, I had assumed a persona outside my introverted, tentative 3rd grade self.  It was glorious.  We shared a tiny Halloween triumph.

That Raven is still around, packed away like a family Bible.  I have no idea where my yearbooks are, my wedding dress, or my diplomas, but I know the exact drawer that holds that badass black bird of love.