Thursday, November 4, 2010


We had just the right day for Halloween, between several days of nippy cold---the skies were sunny all day, and lent a golden light to all the orange and gold and pumpkin colors of the decorations.

Caro had been hitting candy sales since September, and had quite a stockpile of candy bars, popcorn balls, and other smaller candies wrapped in funny or colorful or ghoulish foil. She did the decorating, with a black cloth on the candy-bar table, and all the bars neatly in wire baskets.
The cases of popcorn balls were snugged neatly beneath the tablecloth until time to refill the punchbowls, and old cigar boxes made little treasure chests for the small wrapped goodies. She provided 237 portions, as we’d had to turn off the porchlight and retreat last year when # 220 left the lawn.

Pumpkin globes and a big candleholder served out ears, skulls, and eyeballs---guarded by Hay Bolger and two of her Harry Potter wands.

Our Sweetpea had a lovely Tinkerbell costume, but opted to dress as a pumpkin this year---a very KEWL pumpkin, with snazzy glasses, and a shape much more like a butternut squash, due to her upward growth-spurt.

She took in all the costumes and fairies and ghosts and super-heroes with great wonder and interest, but her delight knew no bounds when one of her longtime TV friends---Violet from Fifi and the Flowertots---walked up onto the lawn. They seemed rather in awe of each other.

And I think the profusion of tables and stuff and people served to confuse a few of the little ones, as well---one child told his Daddy, "Look!! It's a buffet!"
And another could be heard shouting as they started up the drive, "Hey! They're having a Yard Sale! Let's check it out!"
We always fold our tents and come into the house at 7:30, coming down the stairs to a good dinner that’s been in the oven getting ready and sending out savory scents through the house. This year, I had not been well for a couple of weeks, and so I got Chris to put a ham on the grill about three o’clock.
The house was an absolute wreck (I HAD been doing the laundry all week, though I had not tended the kitchen very well, and the loads of clothes, piled clean onto the dining table in hope of folding, actually TOUCHED the dangling grapes-and-leaves from the chandelier).

All those were scooped onto our bed til after supper, and we sat down to the messiest table setting I think we’ve ever had. Everything was just piled and strewn higgledy-piggledy all up and down the table, and we ate from paper plates. We were passing things in containers and swapping knives, and even before we sat down, as soon as she got back from washing her hands, Sweetpea undertook to distribute a roll onto every plate (taking a little bite out here and there as a carrying charge).

The burnished, savory glory that is a ham from Chris' grill:

Rosy slices awaiting a bite---after everyone had made sandwiches, I think the overly-casual atmosphere led everyone to just reach for the ham platter again and again, finger-nabbing another slice and another, like potato chips.

We had several kinds of good rolls and buns from the bakery, lots of good mustards and condiments, and I made some of that tiny-baby-green-bean salad and five of those lovely salt-baked potatoes, steaming and crusty and perfect, ready for the butter and sour cream and chives.

Our Table-Scapegrace: Miss Martha would disown us, and Miss Sandra would cry. (Til they tasted that HAM, that is).

Caro’s corn relish and macaroni salad (the old-fashioned Mammaw kind, with elbows and minced pickles and stuff---yum) made up the rest of supper, with tee-ninecy cupcakes with sprinkles, peeled and eaten right over the debris of our dinnerplates.

I hope I got most of the details right---a lot of it passed me by in a bit of a blur, for I didn’t get all that medicine out of my system til about Tuesday.

This is late, but it was fun, and it was a good family time together.
And I learned after supper that Dear Neighbor had made and eaten a sandwich with a teensy notch out of one side, with not a word said, Bless her Heart.


Marlene said...

Oh Rachel, I am absolutely droooooling over your after trick-or-treat fare! That ham your Chris did looked awesome and aren't you just too lucky to have a Grillmaster! Sweetpea is adorable in her punkin' outfit. And that pic of her standing at the table...that little nape of the neck that is sooo sweet...I DO hope you take advantage of a little "nibble and kiss" often. Hope you are feeling better!

Denise :) said...

What a fun evening! Your table actually looks a lot like I imagine the first Thanksgiving tables looked -- overflowing with God's good bounty!! :)

Patsy said...

Sorry you have not been feeling well but looks like a good end to the day.

Southern Lady said...

I know your little trick-or-treaters love coming to your house -- what a delightful Halloween smorgasbord, both inside and out! Your little pumpkin was precious, as always, and I love the picture of her and "Violet" studying each other. Wouldn't you love to know what they were thinking. I hope this finds you feeling better and getting some much needed rest after all the festivities.

Dorothy said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your comment!!! That brought me over to yours, which is a great blog! That is a terrific spread you had there for Halloween! Hope you didn't have ill-mannered ones trying to grab too much.
You have made me so hungry by showing that delicious looking ham, green beans, etc. Would like the recipe for cooking a ham like that.

steelersandstartrek said...

Rachel, that ham has me all drooly! Miss Kim and I could be there by tomorrow morning if we hurry, and if you have a slice or two left!

I am still marveling at counting halloween visitors in the 200's, and by 7:30 no less! That is not a trick or treat, that is a BLOCK PARTY.

racheld said...

AWWWWW, Y'all!!! What cheery comments this cold damp night!!!

And I AM certainly better---gonna hit the housekeeping hard tomorrow, I hope.

Marlene, yes!! He IS THE Grillmaster! He's been known to pack up a big Weber, unload it in a client's back yard, and grill up everything from burgers and steaks for a cookout crowd, to tenderloins sliced-to-order for the table-service black-tie set.

Denise, I'd hope the Pilgrims were a little neater than THAT---though we COULD have hurled turkey bones and oyster shells back over our shoulders onto the floor---in this mess, no one would have noticed.

Patsy and Janie---thanks, and I AM much better. We DID have a nice time.

Dorothy, I'm so glad to SEE you!! I'll be giving Chris Guest Blogger status one day soon---he can give instructions for grilling that splendiferous ham AND his famous turkey. I haven't baked a turkey in almost 25 years.

And we haven't ever had any grabbers or jostlers, just nice kids who seem surprised to be welcome, and I think they're spreading the word like hobo marks.

And Mr. SAST---Y'all just get your dear selves right on OVER here!!! The more the messier!!

Wish you coulda been here, but your own house and lawn were the Universal Studios of the TorT set. I kinda wanted to be THERE. LLAP, Friend.

Jeanne said...

Hi Rachel, my company left this afternoon and it's late but I wanted to say hello. I am sorry you have not felt well. I hope you are on the mend. This is some array of treats and I know your home was the special treat one. The kids always know who had the best stuff. That includes the lovely ham etc... It all sounds like fun and then end the day with a great meal.

I also love the fur coat story.
feel better soon.
Hugs, Jeanne xo

Bev said...

It's a buffet!! Love it and love everything about this post. Your little one cracks me up..taking a nibble out of each bun. We are still dealing with the colds here..hope you feel better soon.


"FIRE is MAN thing, Woman no mess with Fire!!"

Doing a ham like you see on my better half's blog is the simplest thing in the world. Just start with a real charcoal grill. (Gas is something you put in your car to go get charcoal.) The Webbers grills seem to have the best airflow. Get a couple charcoal holders to keep the charcoal to the sides and insert a quart size metal container to hold water that will boil and keep the meat from drying. Start the charcoal and let burn until coals are white and the starter has burned off. Fill water container, put ham in the middle over clear space with charcoal to sides in containers. Close lid and come back in about three hours and remove, slice and eat ham. You can add flavors and spice to taste, (keep in mind that anything with sugar will burn) but it is not necessary to turn ham or use any sauce or seasonings.

A nine pound ham such as in the picture will need about five pounds of charcoal to keep the heat around 300 degrees. Adjust airflow to keep heat at a constant temp. The ham was fully cooked so there was no need to use a meat thermometer. If you use a raw ham make sure it is good done by checking internal temp. I will sometimes use wood chips to enhance flavor. Hickory seems to suit ham the best. I use other types of wood for other meat.

No rocket science or brain surgery here. Just FIRE and silly man enjoying a cold beverage. Out of the mouths of babes, three year old declares that Ganner is silly man, so must be true.


Kat said...

Hi sweet friend! I haven't been by in a few days so it's been fun catching up.! My mouth is watering with all the yummy food, especially that gorgeous ham! Loved the "stroll" through your backyard!

Big hugs,