Let me jump ahead in my life's narrative because if I wait to get around to the Halloween stuff we did it's going to be ridiculously out of season. By the way, we didn't have the worst year ever in giving out treats yesterday, because despite the rain --- heavy during the afternoon and turning into drizzles with occasional worse by the evening --- it was still in the upper fifties, and we got a couple of groups with several kids each, including, at one point, two independent groups that converged on our porch and looked like every kid in Lansing was there. It was still just a handful of groups, but it was better than a dozen kids, so that's a step up.
Last weekend, though, we got to a local hayride. I haven't been on one since I was a kid, if then, so this was pretty much an original experience. The place, a riding stable owned by a local used-car magnate (a connection I hadn't made from the names), used to have a haunted house but discontinued that two years ago in the wake of fire code changes, unfortunately.
Still, there was almost no wait for the ride to start, and we sat up by the edge, with bunny_hugger covering her legs with some straw for warmth. A bunch of kids with a parent were behind us, and a pack of high-school-or-college girls sat in a clump refusing to be near the edge, and they got all the more central after the first hayride actor, carrying an axe, leapt in and warned he was going to get us.
The kids behind us were a steady delight as they were a bunch of kids on a haunted hayride attraction, and so were a steady source of screams and giggles. One kid had been on it before and started saying what we were just about to get to, at least until I muttered, ``Hey, spoilers! Some of us haven't been on this before.'' Which was true enough for me, but I was thinking of the kids with him. The kids offered other delights too: at about the midpoint of the ride the wagon comes to a stop beside three witches, doing the toil-and-trouble bit (I riffed ``Oh, no, Shakespeare in the park!''), and they came out to give cups of cider and doughnut holes to everyone. They offered these as ``dragon drool'' and ``goblin eyeballs''. One of the kids complained they shouldn't call it that, it spoils the appetite.
The ride had a lot of pretty good scenes, home-made (at least to appearance), and wrapped up with a surprising-to-me string of characters off of the Wizard of Oz books, with Mombi and the Gnome King. The kids behind didn't know who they were and I decided not to take up the Smart Man's Burden by telling them. Perhaps the barn with the picture of Judy Garland-as-Dorothy gave them a useful clue and if not then they just went home thinking this hayride had some great headless- and bodiless-person stunts.
Trivia: The official Six Companies bid for the Hoover Dam project was $48,890,955. This was only $24,000 more than the cost estimate of the Bureau of Reclamation engineers. Source: Hoover Dam, Joseph E Stevens.
Currently Reading: The Science Of Fear: Why We Fear The Things We Shouldn't --- And Put Ourselves In Greater Danger, Daniel Gardner.