Talking horror and humor with the Halloween fan base — October 27, 2021

Talking horror and humor with the Halloween fan base

Talking horror and humor with the Halloween fan base

Halloween Kills, the latest installment in the film franchise that started in 1978, was released last weekend. Even in years when there’s no new Halloween movie, it seems like people start watching the flicks around Labor Day.

In recent years, they’ve been posting photos and videos of themselves and/or others engaging in frivolity with people dressed like Michael Myers, the masked murderer made famous by the movies.

These postings made me ask myself, “Self, when did Michael Myers become a wacky sidekick? Isn’t he supposed to be scary?”

Although I’ve seen the original Halloween, I’ll admit that I don’t know much about Michael. I’m not a fan of horror movies. Real life is horrific enough for me. Besides, I can’t suspend belief when it comes to horror films. For example, I wonder what Michael does the rest of the year. Where does he live? How does he support himself? Does he terrorize a different town on every major holiday? Or is he a good, law-abiding citizen who’s triggered by Oct. 31? Trust me, dude, I can relate.

Anyway, my ignorance led me to seek out a couple fans of the Halloween movies and/or of horror films in general. That number doubled. Simmer down. It could have been more. Fans of the Halloween movies are everywhere.

But that doesn’t mean they – or horror fans in general – agree on all things Halloween.

Take the original movie, which features Michael escaping from a mental institution, where he had been held since age 6 for stabbing his sister to death, and returning to Haddonfield to terrorize Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis).

“For its time, it was considered to be absolutely terrifying,” explained Halloween superfan Bradley Damron. “There is an actual argument to be made that it was more of a suspense film than straight up horror. It is not a film that hits you over the head with buckets of blood. In fact, it is a fairly bloodless film. When you think of slasher movies, this one popularized so many of the tropes that seem so stale to audiences today. In fact, they were pretty stale by the mid-‘80s, but they were fresh and new in 1978. Add in John Carpenter’s incredible score, and you could feel the suspense and tension all throughout the film. The impact of that score can’t be overstated. People know the Halloween theme. It’s a part of pop culture at this point.

“There are audio recordings of audience reactions in 1978, and I don’t hear many screams like that when I go see modern horror movies. Halloween was not the first slasher movie like many claim, but it was the most influential one by a mile. It spawned so many clones, including Friday the 13th, which was blatantly made to rip off the first Halloween. Without Michael Myers, there is no Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger or Ghostface. And it all goes back to how that audience reacted in 1978.”

Horror movie fan Jennifer VanHoose has a different take. “Having lived through that era, (I) saw the movie when it first came out. It was mildly scary.”

VanHoose, however, doesn’t describe herself as a slasher movie fan.

Halloween superfan Trina Wakeland and her brother grew up watching slasher movies. Whereas her brother gravitated toward Friday the 13th, she stuck with Halloween. Wakeland is such a fan of the franchise that she has a tattoo of Michael on her leg. Hence her status as a superfan.

“I’ve been a Halloween fan my whole life so I guess you could say it’s kind of sentimental to me. (The tattoo is) like a reminder of where horror actually started from.”

Halloween fan Trina Yeary has two Michael Myers dolls.

“I love the setting of the movies – the small town, the era. It’s classic,” Yeary said.

Her comment about the setting pleased me. I don’t remember much about the original movie, but I remember appreciating the atmosphere set by director John Carpenter and the way the movie felt and looked.

Yeary continued, “(Michael) is so creepy without trying. With Michael, slow and steady wins the race. Michael both creeps me out and evokes empathy, though I cannot for the life of me rationalize why.”

VanHoose explained that the Halloween movies written, directed, and produced by Rob Zombie introduced a backstory of Michael as a bullied, abused child. (She also said she felt there was no need for these remakes to have been made.) Perhaps that helps explain some viewers’ empathy for Michael? Or maybe the empathy was created by the creepy mask that nonetheless makes him appear sad?

Regardless, Wakeland and Damron are not here for any of these explanations.

“I feel as you shouldn’t be able to relate and have sympathy for his character,” Wakeland said. “The 2009 Rob Zombie (movie) gave you too much backstory and gave Michael Myers every scenario as a kid to grow up and become a psychopath – killing animals, broken families, and bullied at school. I just feel like the John Carpenter film gave you more chills because he has a blank face, doesn’t talk, and you have no clue why he is doing what he does.

“What’s so scary is this is a real guy. (He’s) not immortal and is impossible to kill.”

“Michael Myers was always meant to be a force of nature,” Damron said. “He’s evil because he’s evil. He kills because that’s what he does. In fact, the original film was going to be called The Babysitter Murders until producer Irwin Yablans suggested that it take place on Halloween night. This was about evil lurking on a night that many consider evil. Rob Zombie tried to stray away from that with his reboot. He tried to explain too much, and I feel that chipped away at what made Michael Myers special originally.”

I asked Damron about people who consider Michael to be funny. While he acknowledged that some people find slasher villains funny, he added, “Michael Myers is savage and cruel. He does not feel mercy or remorse. There is no hesitation when he has the chance to kill. There is no overall message with him. He is evil in its purest form.”

A factor that led me to write this post and to talk to fans of the movies was my interaction with folks who do find the movies and Michael Myers humorous. I also checked in with them for this piece and they again identified as Halloween fans who watch the movies for comedic effect.

They, as a whole, described the movies as over-the-top and wondered how viewers could take them seriously, what with Michael showing up out of thin air and being shot and stabbed and falling off buildings only to pop back up, they said.

VanHoose alluded to this as well, describing Michael as having become campy, and each installment as being “more and more ridiculous.” However, she also said she did not find the movies funny at all. And Damron said Michael is “never funny.”

Assuming the folks I know had never seen the first movie, which is considered a classic and has a more serious tone, I interrogated them about which movies they had seen. All of them but the newest one, they said. Surely, they don’t consider the first movie – the classic – to be a laugh fest? Yes, they do.

Of course, they have their favorites. They don’t care for anything related to Halloween that doesn’t feature the Michael Myers character. They are also not fans of the Rob Zombie flicks. (Does anyone like those movies?) They also made it clear – repeatedly — that even though they view the movies as comedies, they are fans who really like and really enjoy the flicks.

Oh, and even though they don’t find the Halloween movies scary, they do find other media scary.

Okay. Give me an example.

Unsolved Mysteries with Robert Stack, one offered.

Happy Halloween!

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.

Lock it up — October 20, 2021

Lock it up

Last week, I shared what, if not for my quick reflexes, could have been a smoothie-making accident. At story’s end, I promised to explain what happened when I attempted to remove the base from the blender and, later, clean the contraption.

Here goes.

I could not remove the base from the blender. That surprised me because, earlier, when I took the blender apart to see if it worked, the base removed with ease. But once my less than smooth smoothie had been prepared, the base would not budge from the rest of the blender.

No matter how much effort I expended, that gosh darn base refused to move a millimeter. Knowing I needed to apply some traction, I pressed one foot against a cabinet, held the blender in my hands, and tried to turn it.

It didn’t work.

At that point, just when I decided to give up, my tired eyes rested on the base. It featured two icons – one represented locked, the other unlocked.

You know where this is going.

I picked up the base, turned it in the direction of the unlocked icon and, voilà, the base was no longer attached to the blender at large.

My problems were not behind me. Once I emptied the less than smooth smoothie from the jar, I had to clean the jar and my nemesis, the blade. (You might remember from part one that the blade literally rose in the air and twirled around my kitchen when I took the blender apart to see if it worked, and then pressed the on button whilst it was apart. Spoiler alert: It worked.)

It might not come as a surprise that I couldn’t separate the bottom cover – where the blade lives – from the jar. I checked. There were no icons. I cleaned it the best I could and then took it to the Goff Estate.

As soon as I walked in with the jar, the snickering began. They hurled such remarks as “Isn’t that an important part of the blender?” my way.

When I explained my predicament, my sister, Pam, with smugness dripping from her every pore, reached out her hands.

She couldn’t pry it loose, either.

Ha!

She gave it to my niece who quickly solved my problem with a turn of her hands. I returned the still-borrowed jar to my home, cleaned it, and made another less than smooth smoothie.

About those less than smooth smoothies … I think they taste fine, but they are a tad thick. My niece has seen them and agrees. As we discussed this at the Estate, my siblings pipped up, admonishing me for not including milk in my smoothie recipes.

As you might recall, before I started my smoothie-making endeavor, these same siblings assumed I planned to make peanut butter smoothies. No one said a word about milk. No one offered advice. But now they’re smoothie-making experts?

I’m sure these experts would have noticed the unlocked icon, too.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.

Smooth operator — October 13, 2021

Smooth operator

If I hadn’t fallen to the floor and covered my major arteries, you could be reading a story with a catchy headline like “Raccoon woman injured in freak smoothie accident.”

This near-tragedy almost happened because I needed to add more fruit to my diet. After all, it is so hard to find good, reasonably-priced berries this time of year.

Someone suggested smoothies. I conferred with someone else, who patiently explained that I couldn’t simply dump berries or other fruit into a blender and call it good. I would need to include yogurt, nuts, spinach, etc., to keep from lapsing into a coma.

As I didn’t want to lapse into a coma, I added nuts and yogurt to my shopping list and asked my mom if I could borrow her blender. When I shared my plans to make smoothies with my family, both my sisters assumed I intended to get a head start on my holiday baking.

Firstly, I have never participated in the making of peanut butter smoothies. Secondly, I abhor peanut butter. Thirdly, that would be one heck of a head start.

Anyway, as I transported the blender through the Goff Estate, I noticed that a part was missing from the lid. My brother and a sister advised me to affix duct tape to said lid to prevent ingredients from splattering around the kitchen.

A few nights later, I decided the time had arrived. I dumped walnuts, fat- and flavor-free yogurt, and mixed berries into the blender. I affixed duct tape to the lid, plugged the blender in, turned it on, and pressed the smoothie button.

Although it made a noise, nothing noteworthy happened.

I turned the blender off and on a few times. Still nothing noteworthy happened.

Then, I removed the jar, aka the thing with the handle, from the base. Most of the ingredients had packed into the jar. There were but few nuts around the blade. So, I hardly thought once about turning on the blender with the blade exposed.

I was super pumped to see that the blender worked. Indeed, the blade literally started rising in the air and twirling around the kitchen.

That’s when I fell to the floor and covered my major arteries.

Seriously, if my reflexes had been a tad slower, my life could have been made into a horror movie titled “When small appliances attack!”

The blender didn’t decapitate me, though. And as there were but few nuts around the blade, I had minimal cleanup. Then I put the blender back together. This time, something noteworthy happened when I pressed smoothie.

That first night, the taste could only be described as adequate, but it improved over time. I’m not sure if one should eat leftover smoothie or eat a smoothie with a spoon, but you live your life and I’ll live mine.

Anyway, the fun continued when I tried to remove the base from the blender and, later, clean the contraption. Tune in next week for part two of as the blender blade turns.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.

Constant craving — October 6, 2021

Constant craving

I eat goat cheese.

Yeah, I know that might seem like contradictory behavior from someone who’s so cheap she’s been known to crawl around on public floors to pick up change. But I splurged a few months ago on some goat cheese at the Trader Joe’s – a store that’s not nearly as expensive as I was led to believe – and I’ve been hooked since.

For those of you who’ve never sampled goat cheese, don’t expect me – a writer – to be able to describe the taste. Just know that it’s good. And not cheap.

When I finished off the TJ’s goat cheese and crackers, I headed to the Food City. After I located a container of goat cheese, I made my way to the cracker aisle in search of a cracker boasting no taste.

You can only imagine my happiness when I located Crav’n Flavor brand water crackers in said cracker aisle. Firstly, if you’re looking for crackers with no taste, look no further than water crackers. Secondly, I had never heard of this Crav’n brand, but the water crackers appeared to be on sale. I dern-near knocked the Food City associate down as I grabbed two boxes.

I could not have been more pleased with the goat cheese and water crackers. I hoped the water crackers weren’t priced outrageously the next time they made their way onto my shopping list. I would have to crawl around on a lot of floors to pay for the regularly priced goat cheese and outrageously priced water crackers.

Nevertheless, I went on with my life. In fact, I decided to make a cheesecake. (I like cheese.) But I needed graham crackers for the crust. As I don’t keep the item on-hand, I asked my family members if I could bum a cracker…or sleeve of crackers. My brother offered a sleeve but added that it wasn’t a brand name.

That seemed like an odd thing to say to me, a known proponent of store brands, but I decided he must have heard about the goat cheese. Anyway, when he brought me the graham crackers, I immediately noticed they were in a Crav’n box!

That’s right!

As it turns out, Crav’n is a Food City store brand!

I’ve since learned that the water crackers weren’t on sale. They’re always inexpensive. I’ve also seen Crav’n cookies and crackers at the Super Dollar. According to Food City’s website, the Crav’n brand includes frozen appetizers and snack rolls. I have not seen those products with my own eyes, though, so we’ll have to take the website’s word.

One can only hope Crav’n offers goat cheese, too.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.

Hashing it out — September 29, 2021

Hashing it out

As I’m sure all of you know, Sept. 27 marked National Corned Beef Hash Day.

Then again, dear readers, you might be asking yourselves, “What the expletive is corned beef hash?”

If you’re asking yourself that question then, unlike me, you were not forced to endure The Little Rascals’ short film, All About Hash.

When I was a wee lass growing up on the Goff Estate, we watched The Little Rascals as we waited for the school bus to lumber up the holler each morning. We might also have watched The Three Stooges, but I wouldn’t swear to that in court.

I will swear in court that I never enjoyed the Stooges or the Rascals. But what could I do? I didn’t control the TV. Furthermore, we had only five channels. What else were we going to watch?

Regardless, the aforementioned hash episode has stayed with me. According to my memory, Darla was upset because her parents argued every week about…hash. It seems her mom made hash out of leftovers and her dad just could not deal.

My memory wasn’t entirely reliable. When I researched the episode for this-here post, I learned it was Mickey’s parents who argued about…hash. But when the rascals put on a radio show – I am not making that up – to teach Mickey’s parents a lesson, Darla played the mom. So, I did remember Darla being upset about…hash.

At the time, I had no idea what they were carrying on about. All these years later, I still don’t. Our friend, Wikipedia, didn’t have much information on corned beef hash, but a website called Days of the Year offered up this on the topic:

“This is a meal that became popular throughout and after the Second World War. Because of the rationing that occurred during these years, fresh meat was very limited in availability, which resulted in corned beef filling the gaps. Cooks used their creativity, experimenting with leftovers, spices, and herbs to make different dishes. Nothing was wasted during these years, with stretching meals a main priority.”

The website added that there are no rules when it comes to making corned beef hash and encouraged cooks to get into the spirit of the World War II era and use whatever is in their refrigerators and pantries.

As a fan of leftovers, I encourage that, too, but I will not be making hash anytime soon. I have also never had corned beef. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it. I thought I had, but I was thinking of dried beef, which comes in a jar that’s not much bigger than a container of Vick’s. (By the way, my adorable great-niece calls Vick’s “gray rub.”)

Anyway, I’m semi-obsessed with meat that comes in jars. But I guess that’s a different post for a different day. Wonder if there’s a Meat in Jar Day?

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.

Follow the leader — September 22, 2021

Follow the leader

Last week, as I enjoyed the opening Sunday of the NFL season, I used the facilities during a station break. As I did so, I thought I heard snippets from The Who song that served as the theme from the original CSI blaring from the TV.

I didn’t give the matter much thought. Indeed, I went on with my life and continued enjoying football.

Later, when I wandered into the kitchen during a station break, I again heard the familiar tune. I made it back to the living room to catch sight of the words, CSI: Vegas, flashing on the TV.

“Hmm,” I said to self, “isn’t CSI already on a streaming service? So why would they be playing ads for the show nowadays?”

The Vegas aspect most puzzled me. The original show was known only as CSI. It was never marketed along with the city in which it was set. I consulted my niece, Sierra, who was equally puzzled. If only there existed a way for us to research the matter. Thankfully, I remembered the existence of the Internet and typed in CSI: Vegas. This is what I read on the Wikipedia:

“CSI: Vegas is an upcoming American crime television limited series that is set to debut on CBS on October 6, 2021. It is a sequel epilogue of the long-running series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and will be the fifth series in the CSI franchise. The series is set to star William Petersen…”

Oh! My! God!

William Petersen is returning to my life as Gil Grissom!

Dear readers, that is all we CSI fans need to know. We can go ahead and set those VCRs to record CSI: Vegas.

For those of you who have never watched CSI, Grissom was the graveyard shift supervisor for the show’s first nine seasons. My sister, Pam, and her family were also intense CSI fans. We still discuss favorite and/or emotional episodes. We mourned Grissom’s departure. I stayed with the show until a certain late-season character chased me away, but it hadn’t been the same since Grissom bid the lab farewell. His rational attitude grounded the other characters, who could be judgmental jerks, and the storylines, which could be a tad unbelievable.

Anyway, whilst watching an episode of 48 Hours mid-week, I accidentally stopped fast-forwarding during commercials. That’s the bad news. The good news is that I finally got to see a CSI: Vegas commercial. It features Jim Brass – yes, that Jim Brass! – and Sara Sidle – yes, that Sara Sidle! During the commercial, Sara says that every crime the lab investigated is now under review. (Why? I guess we’ll have to tune in to find out.) A forlorn-looking Sara also wonders what they could do to solve this mystery.

The commercial ends with Grissom delivering his signature line.

They’ll follow the evidence.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.

The ones that got away — September 15, 2021

The ones that got away

So, apparently there’s going to a fourth movie in the Matrix franchise. This one is scheduled to be released in December. The first movie was released in 1999 to worldwide acclaim and a bountiful box office.

I’ve never gotten around to seeing it.

Oodles of Matrix fans throughout the years have insisted that I just had to watch it and the subsequent sequels. They obviously haven’t been convincing.  

Part of the reason why I’ve avoided all things Matrix is its star – Keanu Reeves. I’m sure everyone is right and he’s the nicest guy in Hollywood, but I don’t watch his movies. I haven’t seen once since circa 1993, and I stand by that decision.

Also, the gist of the film doesn’t draw me in. Here’s how the Wikipedia frames it: “The series features a cyberpunk story of the technological fall of mankind, in which the creation of artificial intelligence led the way to a race of self-aware machines that imprisoned mankind in a virtual reality system — the Matrix — to be farmed as a power source. Occasionally, some of the prisoners manage to break free from the system and, considered a threat, become pursued by the artificial intelligence both inside and outside of it.”

If you knew how much trouble I had following the first two Terminator movies, what with their self-aware machines, you’d understand why I believe I’ll have even more trouble following The Matrix.

Although I’m known for being something of a movie fan, The Matrix isn’t the only movie from way back that I’ve never seen. I haven’t watched a second of Gremlins or The Goonies.

People from my generation freak the expletive out when they hear this.

But you can’t watch every movie. What’s more, you can’t care about every movie, either.

As they wipe away tears, folks my age encourage me to watch The Goonies, a flick about a group of kids who follow a treasure map to save their homes from foreclosure. These teary-eyed folks are coming from a place of nostalgia. Maybe if I had seen the movie during its original mid-‘80s run, I would feel the same. But I’m a woman of advanced age who has no connection to that movie or those characters. I’m not going to feel the way an ‘80s era tween or teen would feel.

When I was a wee lass on the Goff Estate, we subscribed to a premium network channel that seemingly played Gremlins around the clock. I never once had the inclination to spend time with those ugly bug-eyed creatures. What’s more, I heard so much about those dern critters – don’t feed them after midnight, don’t expose them to sunlight, don’t let them come into contact with water – that I felt like I had actually seen the movie.

Basically, I missed my chance.

Just like I missed my chance with The Karate Kid and Lethal Weapon and Beverly Hills Cop and 48 Hours and…

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.

Half and half — September 9, 2021

Half and half

You’ve probably heard that half the fun is getting there.

When it comes to vacations and road trips, I believe this to be true. Indeed, there have been plenty of times when I’ve laughed ‘til it hurt whilst en route to my destination with trusted traveling companions.

When it comes to sports, I’ve struggled with the half the fun is getting there concept. Sure, I applaud my teams at the end of their respective seasons. But depending on which team wins the championship, I might also yell obscenities until my throat hurts whilst flinging sharp objects at the TV.

This is especially true when it comes to the NFL because He Who Shall Not Be Named and/or The Team That Shall Not Be Named frequently win.

My hatred – yes, hatred – for them cannot be healthy or normal. Yet, there we are. And every season that ends with He Who Shall Not Be Named and/or The Team That Shall Not Be Named hoisting the Lombardi Trophy also ends with me swearing off the league because I can no longer handle such pain in my life.

I cut the cord soon after the NFL season ended – my decision was unrelated to football — which meant I no longer had access to the NFL Network. That helped steel my resolve.

Then, as it has every year in my life, August happened. And as I have done every other year, I started searching the NFL Network for preseason football once I bid farewell to July. Oh, yeah, about that. The streaming service I selected added the network on Aug. 1, and I’m one of those people who watch preseason football. I do not restrict my viewings to my favorite teams. I watched an Eagles-Jets preseason game and then told my fellow football fans about the exciting last-second Hail Mary pass the Jets nth-string quarterback threw.

Their responses went something like this: “Is this a plea for help?” “Have you had a stroke?” “Exciting and Jets do not belong in the same sentence. Who are you?”

I’m a woman of an advanced age who enjoys the NFL. That’s who I am. And this year, I’m going to take it game-by-game and week-by-week. I’m not going to start thinking about the playoffs – the playoffs! – in September. I’m going to enjoy the ride. I’ll have half the fun during the seasons and then we’ll see what happens afterward.

Perhaps I’ll have the other half of my promised fun or perhaps I’ll yell obscenities until my throat hurts whilst flinging sharp objects at the TV.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.

Prime time — September 1, 2021

Prime time

I don’t have an Amazon Prime subscription.

I’ll understand if that admission causes you to quit reading and/or to report me to the authorities.

This subject came up last week when a friend suggested I watch a movie via Prime. I haven’t told her about my lack of a relationship with Prime. I suppose she’ll find out when she reads this. I’ll understand if she unfriends me in real life and/or on social media. In fact, when I revealed this shocking truth to another friend, she literally gasped.

Anyway, a few years ago I did share a discounted Prime subscription with the sisters and nieces. I wasn’t impressed. Call me unreasonable, but when you promise me next day shipping, then I expect my orders to arrive the next day.

When I consulted with longtime Prime subscribers about this discrepancy, they explained that not every item is eligible for next day shipping. Or even two-day shipping.

Oh, and so it was a coincidence that every item I ordered happened to be ineligible for one- or two-day shipping?

Right.

A Prime subscription also offers you access to oodles of TV shows and movies. There’s also a catch to that. You have to pay extra to gain access to many of those oodles. When I consulted with longtime Prime subscribers about this discrepancy, they literally asked me, “You didn’t know that?”

Apparently not.

Is this something everyone in the galaxy is supposed to have knowledge of when they are born? On what page is Amazon Prime listed in the instruction book on life? Is it before or after the listing for how you can’t put aluminum foil and other metals in the microwave?

Why should I think I would need to pay extra to watch shows and movies? Call me unreasonable, but when you promise me access, then I expect access with my paid subscription.

Regardless, when our discounted subscription expired, we did not renew. I haven’t missed it. In the ensuing time, I have never felt the urge to click on a trial membership when given the offer.

This seems to confuse people. They react much like my friend who gasped. When I explain that I don’t need Prime because I don’t place many orders – I have ordered from Amazon only four times this year – they counter that I could order so much more if I had Prime.

That seems unreasonable.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.

Mail call — August 25, 2021

Mail call

This weekend I became consumed with figuring out how my family received the packages my mom ordered from Sears when I was a wee lass growing up on the Goff Estate.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Self, is that all she has to think and/or worry about?”

No, but it was better than thinking and/or worrying about the health and well-being of people I love, so that’s what my mind chose to do.

This, some might say, obsession arose from a conversation one of my besties and I had about, you guessed it, the Kmarts. During our discussion, I told her I was fairly sure our Christmas presents came from the Sears catalog.

Indeed, I can remember hearing my mom order all sorts of merchandise. She’d sit at the kitchen table, with the receiver from the yellow rotary phone in one hand and a cigarette in the other, saying, “Page 40, item number 720XTC, color red, quantity one.”

So, that got me thinking…how did the merchandise get to the Estate? What’s more, there was no Internet back then. How did she track those packages?

There also weren’t delivery vans zipping up and down the holler with frequency back in the day, so I ruled out front-door deliveries.

While I didn’t rule out mailbox delivery, I felt sure that’s not how the packages arrived at the Estate because in the summers, I made the long walk to get the mail.

What’s that? Oh, our mailbox did not sit outside the estate. It was a half-mile or so (I have never gotten out a tape measure and marked off the distance) down the holler. We shared the mailbox with two or three – or more — other houses/relatives. It occurred to me as a teen that people who only knew our address would think all of us lived in the same estate instead of on estates of our own.

During the summers, my cousin and I usually volunteered to walk to the mailbox. We would leave our houses as our moms yelled out warnings to watch for snakes. Unless an unfamiliar vehicle wandered up the holler, retrieving the mail was the highlight of our day.

Anyway, I don’t remember many or any large packages arriving in the mailbox.

So, how did we get our hands on that merchandise? I decided to ask my mom.

She and my sister didn’t say so, but I got the impression they suspected I had suffered a stroke. After they exchanged knowing glances, one of them simply said, “We picked them up at the Sears store.”

Oh, yeah, that makes sense. After they said so, I can remember frequent trips to the store. Nobody needs that many appliances.

Dern. I just remembered I forgot to ask Mom how she tracked her orders.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.