Want to dispel cynicism and despair at the state of the world? Spend a morning with happy, excited, costumed kids.
Aged around five to ten, they gaze up at you, polite and curious and expectant, a couple of witches, a unicorn, a fairy, several princesses, a pumpkin or two, a Spiderman, a skeleton, a miniscule tiger, a fireman, a Superman, a butterfly.
You gaze back, wondering what they’re thinking.
They’ve already spent a half hour playing games. Now you’re Children’s Entertainer #1 at the St. George Hallowe’en Fall Fair, expertly organised at the Community Centre by the indefatigable Faith and friends.
Children’s Entertainer #2 is Perley the Magician.
A magician! How can you not pale into boring insignificance compared with a magician, for Heaven’s sake? He’s already set up. He has three long tables crammed with exciting and colorful doodads, awaiting his magical ministrations.
You have a guitar.
(Photo credit here & above: Susan Hill Photography)
Ah well. The kids are polite enough to still have their eyes on you, and not on those tables behind them, so crammed with magical potential.
You’re aware you must look like a giant, with the kids sitting on the floor, so you kneel, hoping you’ll be able to get up again.
You hold your hand in the air. “This is a witch on her broomstick. When I sing ‘She’ll be riding on her broomstick’ make her fly across yourself, like this.”
You make your ‘witch’ fly across yourself accompanied by a nasal Nnnyyaaaaaa as if her broomstick is supersonic.
“Now you do it.”
What’ll it be? Enthusiastic participation? Passivity? Hostility?
“Ready? Here we go. Nnnyyaaaaaa.”
And, bless ’em, they do it.
It’s gonna be okay, and you launch into a half hour of Hallowe’en songs and silly songs and action songs and echo songs. It’s a long time since you’ve done this. You hope voice and memory and fingers on the guitar hold out.
Then it’s Perley’s turn and he’s professional and – well – magical. And funny. The kids are transfixed, their mouths and eyes wide open in wonder as they point and gasp.
And of course there has to be food, macaroni and cheese, and juice followed by amazing Hallowe’en themed cookies. (It’s like being grandparents. Cram ’em with sugar and send ’em home.)
Yeah. Everything’s okay.