Maybe I was homesick for the old journalism days. Maybe I was missing the grandkids. Maybe I was just looking for a way to indulge myself in the substance of my favorite holiday.
Whatever the case, the result was a hankering to once again conduct a phone interview. With Sooby and Pooh. On the subject of Halloween. Following is the closest thing to a transcript of that event I can muster. It began much as you would expect, with Googie on speakerphone.
Q: What is your favorite thing about Halloween?
A: (Sooby) Going trick-or-treating. (OK, scrap that. Unnecessary question, obvious answer. Duh.)
Q: What is your favorite kind of candy to get when you go trick-or-treating?
A: (Sooby) Candy bars, lollipops, candy kisses, Nerds . . . . (List continues, but voice trails away.)
A: (Pooh) Chocolate. (A child after my own heart. Succinct answer. Recognition that, when you say the word "chocolate," nothing more needs to be said. Or eaten. Or invented.)
Q: What is your favorite costume?
A: (Pooh) A 'keleton.
A: (Sooby) A candy corn witch. (Note: Both are costumes from Googie's house. The 'keleton: a quarter at a garage sale; the witch: 75% off sale at Walmart last November. Good job, Googie.)
(Long silence. Interviewer falters. Interviewer struggles to recall TV interview style and content, then resumes.)
Q: Many people seem to denounce Halloween as a dark holiday that celebrates wickedness and evil. Do you perceive evil forces at work on Halloween?
A: (Pooh) Huh?
A: (Sooby) Just my brother.
Q: What do you consider the sociological ramifications of Halloween in a society where such a pronounced dichotomy seems to exist between the ideologies of good and evil?
A: (Pooh) ZZZZzzzzz . . . .
A: (Sooby) (After a long silence and two verses of "Old MacDonald") Halloween is fun.
Bingo. I couldn't have said it better. For me, Halloween has always represented pure, carefree fun. You get to dress up. You get to be outside in what is usually gorgeous Indian summer weather. You have parties and bonfires. You get free candy. You collect a stash of sweets that, if you are judicious, will last until Christmas.
Halloween has never required that I thaw a rock-hard turkey in my refrigerator for four days and then cook it for hours. It has never asked me to drag a tree out of the attic and stick stuff all over it. I don't have to send dozens of cards against a deadline or negotiate a shopping list as long as my arm.
Halloween asks me only to think like a kid and have some serious fun. I love doing both, and I think that people who read all kinds of sinister things into the holiday should maybe buy their underwear a size bigger.
That said, I have a confession to make. It may surprise you to learn that not all of the phone interview went exactly as recorded above. I allowed myself a tiny bit of poetic license toward the end there. Forgive me. It is the season of Halloween, and the kids and I are in full fun mode.