Yippee, it’s October 31st, Halloween. How many witches, fairy’s, super heroes, ghosts or red horned devils are you expecting to come to your door, trick or treating this evening? Lollipops – wrapped, of course – await in my fridge.
And in a few days after this sugar-rush, comes Guy Fawkes, our other adopted traditional celebration and the topic of today’s post.
BEST GUY COMPETITION!
Sunday, November 4th.
Judging at 2.00 PM.
Our Honourable Mayor will announce the winner.
Community Bonfire: 7.30 PM
“And where do you think you’re going with that tin can, young man?” Mother barked from behind the floral sheet she was pegging on the line. Darn, I’d hoped to sneak past without being seen.
“Awwwh, Mother, I promised to go lobstering with Freddy today. The creek is running high and will be crawling with the critters,” I countered, knowing it was pointless to argue with Mother.
“Forget about Freddy and lobstering. You’re helping Little Susie make her Guy for the competition.” Susie appeared from behind Mothers large frame, smiling her wistful smile.
Her raggedy-Ann pigtails framed her petite face and her saucer-blue eyes, gazed up at me. She grasped my hand. “C’mon, Ralphie. It’ll be fun.” She whistled through the gap in her front teeth. “We’ll make the best Guy ever!”
Skippity- hopping, she led me to the barn. I kicked at the stray hens pecking in the dusty soil and swore under my breath. Freddy will be well-mad at me.
We bound bundles of straw with twine, making the torso and head first. Next came the legs and arms. Susie found a pine-cone for his nose and I fashioned a discarded string mop-head, for his hair. We dressed him in Grandpa’s old clothes – a crisp white shirt, a pin-striped waist-coat with matching trousers and tied a paisley cravat around his neck. I fetched the wheelbarrow and we lifted him carefully into it. As a final touch, I added Grandpa’s top-hat, the one he always wore to church.
“Oh, Ralphie. Doesn’t he look grand?” Susie crowed. “It seems such a pity to burn him.”
I had to agree with Susie, our Guy did look grand.
We wheeled the barrow into the yard, past the verandah. On the veranda sat Grandma rocking back and forth on her rocking chair. She wheezed an old hymn in time to the creak-creak of the chair.
As we wheeled the barrow past, the rocking abruptly stopped and Grandma sprung to her feet. “Cedric, what are you doing fooling around in that wheel-barrow? Get out this instant, we’ll be late for church.”
Ouch, a bit tight, buddy. The boy, Ralphie, tightly wraps the baling-twine around my thigh, fastening it with a double knot, pinching my straw-flesh. I wriggle some strands of straw, and the pain eases.
Once I am all put together – torso, head, two arms and two legs, my straw flesh firmly bound with twine – my two makers, Ralphie and Susie, add the final touches and dress me.
With a broad chest and over six foot tall, I’m no puny guy. It is a bit of a pity about the bulbous nose. I would have preferred something more refined. A sturdy carrot, giving me a straight Roman nose would be my preference.
I have to agree with Little Susie. With these threads, I certainly do look grand. Yes Siree, a successful, sophisticated Guy about town, I thought triumphantly.
I have been wheeled in my gleaming carriage to the village green and placed in line with the other Guys. From my coal-black eye, I watch the esteemed judge peer into my carriage. My chest swells as the red ribbon is pinned to my striped waist-coat.
A niggling doubt seeps into my straw head: what did Susie mean, ‘ It seems a shame to burn him?’