Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Trading Post

Ann Rogers, John Rogers, and Hartley Rogers on their way to
collect goods for the annual Trading Post in Columbia, Mo., on
Halloween evening, mid-1970s.

The only Halloween picture in my cache of photos works well for the story I want to share about a Halloween past. Last year I told the granddaddy of them all--receiving a bowl of guppies as a Halloween treat and the trick it played on my siblings and me. See http://annie-allthingsimportant.blogspot.com/2011_10_01_archive.html for the true tale.

This year’s story remembers the annual “Trading Post” with my brothers. Hartley, John, and me would come home from hours of trick-or-treating and pour our bags of candy into individual mountains and carefully divide the loot into categories (think chocolate, bubble gum, taffy, suckers, caramelized apples, nuts, non-edible toys, and on), creating foothills to each mountain of candy. 

When finished, the Cowgirl (me), the Indian (John), and the Patriot (Hartley) would spend a couple of hours bartering wares so that our arsenal best suited individual taste buds. I can’t imagine the amount of chocolate I sacrificed to obtain as much bubble gum as possible. See, gum was contraband in the home according to Mom and anything banned topped my list. My brothers tended to go for pure sugar and chocolate did the trick. I think all three of us would agree that we have as many memories surrounding the annual Trading Post as the actual trick-or-treat collecting itself. It’s when the game got serious and the stakes became high.

As much as my Mom disliked Halloween, I think my Dad secretly loved it as this memory reveals. One Halloween, perhaps later in the evening in the picture above, the Trading Post conducted its final deals and closed shop. We all took our goods to place in hiding from each other--and as it turns out, most importantly Dad. That night, in the wee hours, when brother John was too pepped on sugar to fall asleep my father tiptoed into his room to swindle a sample from his hidden stash in the closet. Before Dad could make the steal, John shot up in bed and declared “Don’t take my candy!” Dad was so startled by the command that he allowed an eight-year-old Indian to stop him in his tracks.