From ghoulies and ghosties/And long-leggedy beasties/And things that go bump in the night/Good Lord, deliver us!
Consider if you will an ordinary home on an ordinary street with an ordinary family living in it. And inside that home with that family in an ordinary kitchen sits an ordinary Halloween cookie jar decorated with Winnie the Pooh and his friends dressed in Halloween costumes. But that cookie jar that seems so ordinary is anything but. In fact that cookie jar is actually extraordinary.
Because that cookie jar is haunting me. Seriously. And it’s making me crazy.
Look, the cookie jar makes this weird noise when you lift the lid. The noise is something between the sound of a not-so-skinny person sitting on an electric keyboard and the same not-so-skinny person accidentally stepping on a cat’s tail. At the same time. But for ten years I’ve had that cookie jar and I’ve heard that sound whenever it’s opened and frankly, it keeps me from scarfing down all the Halloween cookies because I hate the sound. But never, ever has the cookie jar haunted me. Until now.
And the worst part of all this is, I’m the only one who knows the cookie jar is haunted.
Okay, that sounded just a bit crazy. But hear me out. I’ve had the cookie jar for ten years. And for ten years I’ve brought it out around the first of October and sat it on my kitchen counter, filled with Halloween cookies. And for ten years the jar has been obedient—and by that I mean, not haunted.
But this year as I was cleaning the downstairs bathroom, I heard the noise. The howling. The weird sound that only that cookie jar makes when it’s opened. And I was alone in the house. Just me and the toilet brush. And when I gathered enough courage to walk down the hall and peer around the corner into the kitchen where the cookie jar sat, I realized that the cookie jar’s lid was firmly attached. So I ask you, what other reasonable explanation is there other than the fact that the stupid jar is haunted?
And if you don’t believe me, let me just tell you that ever since that day, the cookie jar has serenaded me—and only me–on several other occasions. That’s right. The cookie jar has specifically chosen me as its victim. It doesn’t make the noise when Junior or Harry are around. Well, okay, it makes the noise a lot when Junior is around, but that’s because he’s getting cookies.
But I swear to you, the cookie jar is scaring the bejeebers out of me. It goes off for no reason. I can be in the laundry room doing laundry and the sound will drift up the stairs. I can be sitting peacefully on the couch catching up on “Desperate Housewives” and suddenly the cookie jar will howl. I can be mopping the floor or dusting the furniture or wiping down the shower and the dang cookie jar will start its horrifying screeching.
But strangely, whenever I’m on the phone or have a friend over, the cookie jar sits silent. At this point, I believe I am the cookie jar’s designated hauntee. I also believe that it is purposefully trying to make me crazy—which, if I’m honest, isn’t that difficult. I mean, I’ve always been a little nuts and frankly I don’t need a cookie jar to assist me in that area.
But last weekend, the cookie jar messed up. Because as I was sitting outside on the patio enjoying a glass of wine with Harry and watching Junior practice dribbling, I heard it. The noise. The sound. The howling. It was coming through an open window. And I turned to my husband and son and exclaimed, “There it is! Do you hear it? The cookie jar is making that noise!”
And both of them looked at me with a mixture of sadness and pity in their eyes. And finally Harry said, “Geez, Laurie how much wine have you had?” And the cookie jar stopped howling.
But that’s okay. Because today is Halloween. And that means that tomorrow, the cookie jar is being packed away in the garage. But just to make sure it won’t howl at me the rest of the year, I’m taking the batteries out. And I’m packing it in layers of newspaper, muffled with pillows. And if that doesn’t work, I’m just going to drink more wine.
Post originally published in newspapers October 31, 2008Add me to your rss reader | Become a Fan on Facebook!