It’s a weird tradition and for some reason we go along with it. You know, candy solicitation. Last weekend, I went trick or treating for the first time since I was in short pants (that’s an old phrase meaning I was a little kid). My whole family gathered on Saturday to watch Harmon play soccer, to celebrate my brother’s birthday, and of course to watch the kids build a huge cache of sweets.

We began the day watching my seven-year-old nephew Harmon and his team play soccer. It wasn’t the World Cup but entertaining nonetheless. The coach was admonishing his son to stop jumping around like a ballerina (to which he then demonstrated the objectionable movements). And then I commented that in the midst of all these kids with unusual names like Harmon, Cian, and Zino, there was a refreshing reminder of normalcy in a kid named Joe. His dad was sitting next to me and said it was only fair because he had a long, hard to pronounce (and remember) Italian last name. I’m so glad that stereotypes are alive and well in an Italian kid being named Joe. Thank God for traditionalists.

Anyway, fast forward to just after 6 p.m. as the family walked out the front door to go trick or treating. In their usual Roadrunner-like speed, my brother’s family managed to get to the first house—next door about 15 yards away—some time around 6:45 p.m. I admit some of that time was for a photo shoot but a lot of it was taken up by Harmon’s indecision and issues with the container he was going to use to collect candy. As his parents were going in and out of the house to try and solve this dilemma, he and I sat down and had a philosophical discussion about Star Wars characters and his and Grendel’s role as said characters for that evening’s rounds.

Harmon got a bit sensitive when I inaccurately stated he was a storm trooper. “I am a clone,” he said. “I thought they were the same thing,” I replied. “No, the clones fought for the good guys—the Republic—and the storm troopers were turned by the Sith.” He then got upset because he figured everyone was going to make that same mistake. Because the Crowe kids were all garbed in Star Wars outfits (Julia was Darth Vader and Tyler was Luke Skywalker or a “rebel engineer” whatever that is) we decided that Grendel should play along, too. I thought Chewbacca was a good idea seeing how they are both furry and make the same kind of moaning sounds but once I said Jabba the Hut, Harmon was stuck on that. There was no outfit or anything, we just pointed out to the candy-givers the rolls of fur on Grendel’s neck and said, “He’s Jabba the Hut.”

When we reached the third house and Harmon announced in what I can only describe as a not-so-secret code that he had to “squeeze the lemon” I knew it was going to be a long night. And shortly after that when it started to rain and Harmon asked all the grown ups “who would like to volunteer to carry my blaster” I knew that next year I was going to go back to standing in my doorway and giving out the candy. But not like the creepy guy who made the kids sing a song and pick the candy out of the bowl he kept on his lap. There’s a fine line between being fun and being a weirdo.

I hope everyone had a happy Halloween. I was going to have a contest to vote on who had the cutest costume but only one person sent me photos, so her little ones win. Here are some cute kids in costumes.


Shannon's daughter Katherine the Cow


Shannon's son Charlie the Builder

Clone Luke and Jabba

the Clone, Luke, and Jabba

I have to give a shout out to Grendel’s Grandpa, my Dad, on his 70th birthday. Way to go Daddyoh. Dad says, “I’m celebrating the 31st anniversary of my 39th birthday.” Hey Dad, I’m behind you 100%. After all, you had my back when I celebrated the third anniversary of my 29th birthday. That’s just the way we do things in the Crowe family. We also give our dogs and kids weird names—okay I shouldn’t say the kids’ names are weird—unique is a better word. But naming the second family Labrador Klinger after the first Klinger died did make for some great fodder for jokes among my friends.

Moving on to the zero part of the headline. Did you know that in the U.S. a new person is born approximately every eight seconds? I’d like to give another shout out to a very brand new person—someone recently arrived to the planet—Colin Tuttle. Son of my dear friends, Bob and Emily. Colin was supposed to arrive next month but instead arrived two weeks ago. So either the doctor can’t count, baby bubba was impatient to start the ride, or Mrs. T has some splainin to do. Either way, we are very happy he’s here and everyone is healthy. And Colin just happens to be an excellent Irish name.

If this blog was really popular, now would be a great time for me to earn some money by sponsoring a diaper ad because young or old, we never really finish dealing with the toils of bodily fluids. But instead, here’s a link to and for you out-of-work people, they’re looking to hire an Infrastructure Engineer. (I don’t know why that sounds funny, it just does.)

And just for fun, I clicked on those links in the first paragraph and here’s what came up for me.

  • I am 21,300,095 minutes old (and just wasted a butt load of them writing this blog).
  • Someone named Y.A. Tittle shares my birthday (close to Tuttle, but no cigar).
  • In dog years, Grendel and I are pretty much the same age

Evidently I have these good and bad characteristics.

  • Very little ever escapes my observation (hence the title of this blog).
  • I neither show nor understand emotions very well (what a crock—that makes me mad—not true)!

What does your birthday and name say about you? I’d like to know, really, because I do care and can show you, really. Happy Birthday Dad and all you April babies out there!