Halloween is my husband's favorite holiday -- and yes, orange is Guy's favorite color. He even knows -- and sings at the drop of a hat -- a Halloween song.
When our son was little, Guy would go all out on Halloween, decorating the outside of the house with corn stalks, pumpkins and scary lawn decorations. We would spend the night before Halloween carving the pumpkins -- which some years, were quite elaborate.
On Halloween night, Guy sits on the front stoop with a big bowl of candy, greeting the trick-or-treaters. We live in one of the few flat areas of the city, with the houses close together, and parents drop vans full of kids at the end of the street. The only way to keep up with the demand is to stay outside.
Other women have romantic tales to tell about getting their engagement ring. There are tales of romantic dinners, rings hidden in desserts, the man getting down on one knee ... Not that I would know -- I got mine for Halloween. (Still trying to decide if Guy was the trick or the treat.)
We were all set to go to a friend's martial arts demonstration one October afternoon many, many years ago, when Guy casually announced, "You can go to the show. I'm going to pick out an engagement ring." So much for the martial arts thing!
The ring needed to be sized to fit my finger and I had to wait a week to actually get it -- which brought us to the day of a co-worker's Halloween party.
Lillian Zipperling in the newsroom was writing a column on building a jack-o'-lantern totem pole and needed photos to go with the column. She talked members of the ad department, where I worked at the time, into carving the pumpkins and stacking them into the totem poles. Not that it took much talking, we ad department people never needed an excuse to party!
So there I was, elbow-deep in side a pumpkin, pulling out the seeds, when someone noticed my new engagement ring. After a round of congratulations, it was back to the task at hand. I'm not sure, but I think there's still some pumpkin guts wedged behind the diamond in my ring ...
The other day I ran across the photo that was taken that night of us posing near the two totem poles. We were all so young then. The children in the photo are now grown and have children of their own. One of my co-workers in the photo died tragically years ago. Some of the people in the photo have left the area and I haven't seen or heard from them for decades. Others of us are still close -- we may not see each other too often, but there is a bond that still connects us.
After cleaning up the pumpkin mess, the real party got started and I was introduced to a rye bread dip, made by my co-worker's wife, Mary, who got the recipe from her mother-in-law.
When I asked for the recipe, Mary told me in no uncertain terms, that only Hellmann's mayonnaise should be used. Her mother-in-law (and who doubts a mother-in-law?) in sisted nothing else would taste right. Beau monde is a seasoning mixture easily found on supermarket shelves.
(Guy claims the best part of the dip is when the bread bowl is nearly empty and you can tear it apart and eat it.)
Rye Bread Dip
2-pound round rye bread
1 pint sour cream
1 1/2 cups Hellmann's mayonnaise
2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
2 teaspoons dill weed
2 teaspoons beau monde
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
Cut out the center of the rye bread, creating a bowl, Cut the center piece of bread into small chunks for dipping. Mix ingredients for the dip a few hours before planning to serve and let sit in refrigerator. When ready to serve, fill center of bread bowl with dip.
Another Halloween party, a few years down the road, brought another great recipe to my collection -- one I was reminded of every time I looked at my kitchen counter for years. Warning: Although delicious on the meatballs, be warned the sauce can stain terribly!
Grape Jelly Meatballs
2 12-ounce jars Heinz chili sauce
1 32-ounce jar grape jelly
1 bag meatballs (about 80 in a bag)
Put chili sauce and jelly in a large pot, heat until jelly is melted and sauce is smooth, stirring often. Add frozen meatballs; heat until meatballs are thawed and then simmer for 3 hours. Works well in a crockpot.
Margaret Button is the city editor of the North Adams Transcript. Send recipes for inclusion in future columns to the North Adams Transcript, 85 Main St., Suite 2, North Adams, Mass. 01247 or email them to email@example.com.