What really scares me

There could be ghosts and goblins, witches and warlocks running around your part of the world today.

Boo! (Getty Images)

Boo! (Getty Images)

Be careful. Something resembling this might jump out from behind a bush and try to relieve you of your wits and bodily fluids. It is Halloween, after all.

Do you believe in ghosts, really?

Seven years ago, when I worked for the big daily, I was assigned to cover a Ghost Hunt at Syracuse’s restored downtown 1929 gem, The Landmark Theatre, on Oct. 25. I remember the date so clearly because it was two days before Karen jumped into the car with me to drive to Niagara Falls, N.Y., walk into City Hall, and became my dear wife. This I did with no fear.

I remember the assignment so well because Ghost Cop Stacey Jones set the scene that night-turned-into-early-morning for some mighty eerie stuff. She allowed participants the run of the joint, too, and many folks knew about the famous Landmark ghost, Clarissa, said to haunt the balcony. A voice called out from the balcony! It was a ticket-holder, not Clarissa.

Then a group of us toured the dank and dusty basement, standing in a pitch-dark room, waiting for a ghost to join us. Clank! A can of nails fell from the wall to the floor. Everybody swore they didn’t touch it, but nobody could see anybody else, either.

I walked into the upstairs lobby ladies restroom foyer with musician twin friends of mine, and they took pictures of the ornate decorations. We looked at them on the camera viewer later, and in the mirror appeared a globe of light we all sweared was not there in our virtual world. No flashes were used in this experiment.

After that, I huddled with a dozen know-more-than-me’s around a scanner. One explained who these gadgets were well known as a conduit to those gone. Voices came from the scanner, randomly, not the police, not the firemen, maybe ambulance chasers somewhere breaking up from interference? Then, clearly, a voice with a Brooklyn accident that sounded much like my beloved paternal grandfather: “Mork!” Yes. Not quite my name. The name of the alien who loved Mindy. But very close, and extremely eerie.

I wrote one hell of a first-person newspaper story, believe it or not.

Karen and buds last year.

Karen and buds last year.

Last year we were invited to the costume party of Jeff and Kristen. There were many good costumes, but not a ghost among us. I enjoyed the lineup of my dear wife and all of the women she’d worked with over the years at the big daily. I truly appreciated the chance to work as staff photographer after almost 30 years there as an editor and reporter, then the big layoff and all. Ba-da-boom.

Before.

Before.

After.

After.

I think I also may have been the guest who most appreciated our attempt to recreate the classic painting American Gothic as our couple costume. I think Karen nailed it. Scary good!

But I must say, on this Halloween 2015, no party invitations in hand for some reason, hopes of kiddies to knock on our doors in costume in our hearts, there is a situation I must address. It makes my fists tighten and my pulse race.

The Little Bitty masquerades a Hanging Chad.

The Little Bitty masquerades a Hanging Chad.

Late Sunday, Karen called me out to the far side of the house. There I saw a good portion of the white metal trim hanging from roof to ground. It was too late, too dark to address it then. We’ve both been too busy since. Today’s the day that I will be able to pull out the extension ladder and handful of nails and hammer and ask my dear wife to steady the base as I climb, align, and reconnect.

Home repairs. Up high.

Now that frightens the hell out of me.

Happy Halloween, one and all!

What’s the scariest Halloween costume to you? What’s your favorite Halloween costume to wear? What do you have to fix around your house, and are you confident about it?

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68 thoughts on “What really scares me

  1. Hmmmm. Scary stuff indeed. Last night we were at the mall and there was a woman there, I think a security guard, but she was dressed as a zombie and really in full character. It was pretty frightening really. You had to be there. I think she started following us but stopped when I told her she was going to give my daughter nightmares.

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  2. Ah yes, house repairs. We’re still awaiting our scheduled re-roof in another couple of weeks. Meanwhile we watch the stain in the kitchen ceiling get just a wee bit bigger every time it rains. As for Halloween, we’re the grumpy old people who turn off the lights and sit in a back room ignoring the trick-or-treaters. Didn’t used to be so, but the loony neighbors made us not want to be a part of it any more.

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  3. What a perfect “American Gothic” you both made…the expressions made it work. Love it. And house repairs, it’s always something. That might be the scariest part of home ownership, Mark. For sure.

    And what that vehement NY crowd did to the KC defense last night…also a bit scary. Nice job, your Mets. Great comeback. Happy Halloween. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ ๐Ÿ‘น ๐Ÿ‘บ ๐Ÿ’€ ๐Ÿ‘ป

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    • MDW Karen and I dress up once a decade or so. We’re off this year, Van. Thanks for your kind words. We’ll give out candy instead, if any kids come to our house. They better get here before the Mets game starts, though. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have to get out there to fix that hanging chad soon.

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  4. Stay safe on the ladder Mark. At least you don’t have two floors worth to climb up. I remember your photo from last year – forks now have more prongs! I was wondering today what would happen if everyone went out trick or treating at the same time.

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  5. nice american gothic pic Marky Mark – and your wife did nail it.
    I just did a lesson on that painting earlier this year – I had it hanging on the wall in the art room and because it is so iconic – even the little kids were begging to know some details about it – so of course I obliged. Anyhow, did you know that Grant Wood used his dentist and his sister as models for this home – and only made a loose sketch of the house while driving – Grant had just gotten back from a big europe trip and saw the massive gothic architecture and so when he saw the window on this small Sears house kit home – he was moved by the humble feel and just what seemed funny – a gothic window on this kit of a house – and while he denies that he was making fun of anyone or anything – the painting also came out during the harsh economic times for folks and so this painting emerged as a symbol of pride – and in my view, if it were not for that happening socially – grant wood’s painting may have just been hung in the show and nothing more (and I think he got 250$) – anyhow, we also use this painting to talk about lines – and if you look at the original painting you can house lines and more – like see how the pitch fork lines are mirrored a bit in the overall bib – and it always reminds me about how some paintings have so many subtle things that get missed.
    and speaking of house lines, ouch – looks like some heavy wind swooshed through your yard- happy fixing ๐Ÿ™‚
    oh wait – my favorite costume was being a die in the 80’s – my friend dawn and I went to a party as dice – we used boxes and sometimes spend to roll doubles. fun…

    and my favorite with my kids – well one year my son and his friend were the mac and PC from the ubiquitous commercial “I’m a Mac” and “I’m a PC” – do you remember those?

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    • Thanks for the art and history lesson, Y. Fabulously interesting, and why I’m glad to see you here! I don’t know how to define great art, but I know it when I see it! To sub in an important word in a Supreme Court Justice quote. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I fixed the trim today! Photo and tale to come tomorrow, my friend. ๐Ÿ™‚

      And I like the concept of you and Dawn as dice, rolling double. Nice!! Of course I remember the I’m a Mac and I’m a PC commercials. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you had a great Halloween, my friend.

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  6. Happy Halloween bro Mark. Love your costumes as American Gothics. That happens to be one of my favorite paintings. Sorry I haven’t been around for a while. We’ve had death no. 7 in the family for the year. My ex died in his sleep during the night of Tues./Wed., so the kids are looking at me kinda funny now. Guess they are wondering if I’m next, and if it will be this year.
    As for Halloween? I try to ignore it. It just seems like a commercial ripoff that only serves to line the pockets of store owners. And I’m having a bad week/month/year, so I had better just shut up and go back to my nest. See you next month.

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      • A little over a week later and I’m still grieving bro Mark. You would think we were still married, but then, I guess I was. For me, being Catholic meant married for life, so now I’m a widow, along with my widow-in-law, Kaye. We called ourselves wives-in-law before, so that makes us related in a strange way, I guess. My nest hasn’t had much company this past few months, and my kids have had it even harder. Coping is not easy for any of us lately. Still waiting for another shoe to drop.

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  7. The Landmark gives me chills – even though both of our daughters had their wedding receptions there. As a reporter, I remember interviewing a man who said someone brushed past him in the stairway. But no one else was there. Brrr!

    Our favorite Halloween costume was when our future son-in-law, Keith, put on Dave’s long, dark winter coat and had a scary mask on. He sat in front of our home and many kids gave him a second and third look before passing by. Then, Keith might just move his arm and they’d freak. That, combined with the scary Halloween music … priceless! Happy Halloween, Mark and Karen! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  8. The theme to Green Acres started going through my head as soon as I saw the photo preview in my Reader. The only thing I am dressed up as now is a Mecca worker since I’ll be heading in after the local kids are done relieving me of all the unwanted candy I’ve saved up all year long…

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  9. i love your american gothic costumes, no need to worry about a party this year, have fun relaxing and wait for the kids. home repairs – not good at all, lots of tape and glue if i had my way )

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  10. Ha! This is hilarious – hanging chad. I am proud to be a Floridian, well most of the time…….

    Oh, and I don’t know what’s in the water up there (that’s not true, I actually do) but the Gothics never looked better.

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  11. If it involves wood or plaster we repair ourselves. Plumbing we get help! Electrical, husband THINKS he can repair it but…..he should NOT think he can.

    I don’t have a clue what the scariest costume is MBM, but you HAVE to check out Ellen Degeneres’ videos of sending her staff to haunted houses. It’s hilarious!!!!

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  12. Hi Mark!!! Belated Happy Halloween. Love The American Gothic get-up. As far as house repairs – in the last 2 weeks we have replaced a toilet, replaced a shower control thingy, replaced both the washer and dryer, the drying vent underwent a colonoscopy and an esophagoscopy (it was cleaned top to bottom) and I changed the refrigerator filter (it took me 3 hours to figure out which one I needed, after receiving no help from the people at Home Depot). Still have to fix my youngest’s ceiling fan and undo the “repair” my husband did to our doorbell and light switches in the living room. So much to do and all I really want to do is write.

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