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Hill Country Living

Hill Country Living
By Coulter Fussell

Daylight Savings Time flipped again this past weekend, meaning I’m fully awake and up writing this column at zero-dark-thirty.  Daylight Savings Time is confusing. I can never tell if it’s ending or beginning. If it weren’t for whoever coined the mnemonic device “spring forward/ fall back” I imagine we’d all be lost in time and space. Of course, one could just as easily “spring back and fall forward” but I guess we are to ignore that possibility.

Equally confusing is traveling across time zones where one “gains” an hour or “loses” an hour. I personally feel that when I go to Georgia I lose an hour because time skips from, say, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. just by crossing the Chattahoochee River. Where did that hour go?! It’s gone forever! Whereas others often claim one “gains” an hour because now it’s 4 o’clock instead of 3 and apparently you’ve been gifted an hour on the clock. I argue this is an empty gift; a useless hour that you don’t remember. In fact, it was stolen. On the other hand, when returning to Mississippi I readily take the hour back and am thankful for the extra time.

Many years ago, as a child, in an effort to figure out the rationale behind Daylight Savings Time, I asked my dad why the world would do such a thing as move around whole hours of time. He claimed that Daylight Savings Time was invented by “the Bar-B-Que industry” in an effort give people more time to cook out on summer afternoons. I believed this into early adulthood. He’s very pleased with himself over that; not quite as pleased, though, as he is for the several childhood years I believed (and readily recalled to anyone who would listen) that an infection scar on his knee was caused by his being shot by a Japanese soldier while hiding up a tree during the Civil War.

Speaking of complete fabrication, the Halloween costumes on Panola Street were cute and funny again this year. There were ghosts, hot dogs, sumo-wrestlers and muscle-y action figures. I’ve seen many costume trends over the years of watching Halloween go down in that neighborhood. Sometimes Halloween will be Spiderman-heavy or a recent Disney princess will dominate. This year, though, we had more of a costuming grab-bag. The variation was refreshing.

One of my kids has aged-out of dressing up for Halloween which is sad for me as his Mama. I’d love nothing more than for him to dress up in a cute costume. But as a teenager I’m sure he rather lay down and die first. Whereas my other kid will most likely never age out of Halloween due to a permanent level of enthusiasm for show-boating, so I guess I’m stuck buying him wigs forever.

 Either way, Halloween is much easier when you have older kids. They just free-range all over town in a wild state of sugar-induced mania and, as a parent, your sole job is to drink cocktails on the porch and hope for their survival. The only free-range incident of note this year was that my youngest kid got mildly but visibly injured when he fell out of the back of a parked pick-up truck while dressed as a killer clown.

All to say, if you’d like to spring forward and brainstorm costume ideas for next Halloween, I suggest a Japanese soldier in the Civil War or a lobbyist from the Bar-B-Que Industry.

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