My Pagan and Wicca friends believe that the fabric between our world and the world of the Spirits is thinnest on Mayday Eve and Halloween. I’ve also heard them say that the entire months of April and October are “gateway” months.
I personally believe that if that is the case, then the spirits have been sneaking over here this October and stealing what little manners are left in the world.
I grew up in a strictly Christian household. The only Magic we were allowed to speak of was “the Magic word”. Please and Thank You were big deals in my house. There were six of us by the time all was said and done–the occasional seventh and eighth when grandparents stayed with us. It was not uncommon to hear requests shouted that go something like this:
“Kathy, when you come back in from the kitchen, could you please bring me a towel? Thanks.” “Bethy, when you come downstairs, could you grab my gold chain from my mirror, please?” (My mother is still the only person I know who drapes necklaces on an old framed mirror. It looks really cool.)
I learned growing up that the key to a happy life was harmony in the home. The Jewish religion has a name for this concept–Shalom Bayit. Perhaps the most essential ingredient to Shalom Bayit I’ve ever come across is simple, earnest everyday courtesy. When you live with someone you show love by showing consideration. ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’, and ‘I’m sorry’ are key. They seem like small things, but I’m a firm believer that those words and the attitudes that go with them show people you are being considerate of their time and their place in the world.
That’s why last weekend left me with such a bitter taste in my mouth (not counting the flu my poor spouse got in reaction to his flu shot and then has passed on to me.) If you read my post from a few days ago–one of the most trafficked posts my blog has ever had–you’ll see that I’ve gotten embroiled in a Neonumismatic game on the iPhone and am involved in what are supposedly “trades” but rapidly turning into caustic demands from ungrateful, spelling-challenged teenagers. I get lots of emails from mature people that say “please send me this thing, if you would be so kind. Thank you.” But for every one of those I’ve gotten 10 that say “Send me a Pfrog. My address is Greedybastage999.”
And then those same kids came trick or treating. We had our porch light on for an hour and 15 minutes. We got 40 trick or treaters. 3 of them said Trick or treat. 2 said “thank you” once they got their candy–one only after I made him say it. My poor generous husband was happily holding out the bowl and saying “help yourself” until several kids took 4-5 pieces a piece. He came in to the house, shoulders hunched and declared that children are ungrateful jerks. And we turned the light out early, hiding in our TV room and depressedly munching on fun size Heath bars.
No one knows the magic words any more.