Stories Of My Father's Lore


My father is a legend, at least in the eyes of my younger brother and me.

My father has always been stern and quite introverted. He avoids being the center of attention and generally says more with a look, than with words.

But he can make us laugh harder than anyone.

In those glimpses of goofiness, my father adds more to his marvel than he realizes.

Last week was Halloween and it reminded me of my dad.

When my brother and I were young, my dad taught us the secret to maximizing the amount of candy we could obtain while trick-or-treating. In classic fashion, he even had a name for it--"Power Treating."

I can remember prepping for our mission prior to leaving the house in costumes. He always had a game plan, of which he reminded us the details as our mom was finalizing our looks. We weren't his elementary-aged children at that point--we were his comrades.

Costumes needed to be paired with comfortable shoes because speed-walking several miles was the order of the night.

Not that I ever would have dressed as a fairy princess (I wasn't that kind of girl) but if I had chosen to, I would have had to wear my Nikes with my gown.

Our neighborhood had a lot of houses and my dad would mentally outline the route we would take, so we would never double back on our path, thus missing valuable time. After a couple of years, my dad even knew which houses and areas handed out the best candy. He is meticulous like that.

While other children would stop along the way to admire their collection of goodies, as children do, we didn't slow down until our house was in sight at the end of the night.

I can remember him encouraging us along the way, as we would begin to tire from the fast pace. In retrospect, it was the same approach he'd later take before some of my big soccer games or when my brother played high school football.

This wasn't your average trick-or-treating jaunt--it was business. We loved him for it.

My dad carried two pillowcases along the way, for when our arms began to tire from carrying the increasingly weighty bags of candy. (He had two because the idea of merging our candy was unfathomable to my brother and me.)

By the time we were wrapping up our operation we had finagled more candy than any other kid in the neighborhood through good old-fashioned hard work. Something for which my dad is a staunch advocate.

My mom would always open the door at the end of the night in utter astonishment at the sheer volume of candy we possessed. (Now that I think about it, she was probably just horrified at the thought of her husband facilitating the month of sugary madness to come.)

My dad would spread out our candy, individually of course, on the kitchen counter to examine it for questionable or half-opened pieces.

He'd then return our treasure sack and remind us that we were limited to a few pieces a day.

I remember lying in bed Halloween night equally exhausted and exalted, replaying the moments of another glorious trick-or-treating experience.

Power Treating continued until I was in sixth grade, at which time trick-or-treating with friends took over for a couple of years. In time, I finally became too old for the whole charade.

Each Halloween I remember with pride, how we forsook our childhood frailties, if only for a night, and drew closer to our dad.

Power Treating was definitely a little asinine.

And it was more than a little intense.

But that's how my father is in everything he does.

As we've grown up, both my brother and I have strived to match that intensity in all areas of our lives.

Looking back, many of the stories and nuances that comprise my father's legend are much more than just fun times or silly memories or capitalizing on our candy intake.

Halloween was about much more than Power Treating.

It was about spending time with our dad

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