Treaters Save The Night, No Trick!

It is barely dusk when the doorbell starts ringing.

I open the door to, “I know I’m eighteen, and I can’t believe I’m doing this.”

She actually looks about fifteen, still way too old for trick or treating.

I toss a candy bar into her pillow case, and add “Now, if you hadn’t told me I wouldn’t know you’re eighteen, but here you go anyway.”

As quickly as we can service a collage of pirates, princesses, and monsters, another group arrives.

Dirt Man answers the door to a trio of girls. One of them says, “Your neighbor wants you.”

“This sounds like a trick to me.”

“No, really. She said to get you.”

“What does she want?”

“I don’t know. She just said to get you.”

Dirt Man places the bowl of candy down and tells me he’ll be back in a minute.

I continue to give candy out to several groups of toddlers, kids, and many well over the trick or treat age limit. I am a bit baffled at how many teenagers are going door to door for candy. After a few minutes, I wonder if Dirt Man has possibly been tricked. I walk outside and don’t see anyone out front. I even stretch around the drive and peer behind the bushes between our next door neighbor and our driveway. No sign of him. I think it’s strange, but figure she must need help with something inside.

As I am walking back inside a fire engine pulls up and slows right in front of my house. My heart sinks. It parks on the other side of the street. The door to the house opens and I see Dirt Man standing behind the door with the elderly homeowner seated in a chair. Not the neighbor I thought needed him. Shortly thereafter, an ambulance pulls up.

Amongst sirens, flashing lights, screaming and running kids, Halloween continues all around us.

The bottom line is Halloween very possibly saved this woman’s life. She lives alone and chooses not to associate with anyone. The only people that ever go to her door (or maybe I should change that to the only people she answers the door for) are her lawn service men. Had it not been Halloween, no one would have rang her doorbell. Trick or treaters rang her bell and she somehow managed to make it to the door to ask them to get us to help her. When Dirt Man got there she was clutching her chest and said something was wrong, she didn’t feel well. He went to call 911 and saw her phone was pulled out of the wall and the handset was dead. Fortunately, he had his cell phone with him.

Dirt Man called me to see if I knew about her next of kin for him to give to the medics. I had a number she gave me a good fifteen years ago that was now disconnected. While giving out candy, I made calls to anyone I could think of who might have a clue as to her relatives. I got a few leads, but ended up some were dead or couldn’t be found.

We went to the hospital later. She was less confused and stable. She told us her phone had started speaking Spanish (reset to the default, and she wouldn’t ask anyone to fix it for her), so she unplugged it, thus the dead batteries. She was able to give us the name of a relative, though she hadn’t had contact with them in years. She asked us to go into her house and turn off her coffee pot. When we did, we looked up the name in her rolodex and called. This relative said she’d call the others. The hospital put us in their system as a contact in case the relatives did not step up to care for her. The hubby went to the hospital the next morning and she was better. One relative had been by there and another had called him back. Meantime one of the relatives came by the house and told me they’ll be here for her if she allows it.

This situation saddens me. I realize it happens all over the world. People age, get sick, die, and they do it all alone. Maybe by choice, maybe not. Maybe out of pride, maybe anger…who knows why…

I just want to say, life is too short to go at it alone. Even if you don’t have family, stay in touch with your friends or at least have contact with your neighbors. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. If you live alone, I beg you not to isolate yourself. Don’t push the world away, there just might come a time you need someone.

Sprite’s Keeper: Halloween Show and Tell

47 thoughts on “Treaters Save The Night, No Trick!

  1. I read this thinking what a great post, it’s nice to hear really good stories about Halloween. You and Dirt Man make a great team. But then I read that last paragraph and it made me cry. Damn that’s a lot of emotion to deal with in one post 🙂

    • I’m sorry it made you cry…I think those are important points we need to keep in mind when we feel like shutting out the world. Stepping away seems to be easier than stepping back in. I know as I am not an extrovert. I love my time to myself, and often have to force myself to be in a group…the thing is I always enjoy being with others after I get there…it’s the things I work up in my own head.

  2. Wow,what a great post.If you and Dirtman weren”t the greatest couple before, you are now. I am very proud to be part of your family. Dirtman is the true Southern gentleman. You the best host and ,those boys are the very best kids in the world. What a great time we had with your family. Sad that it was so shott.
    Now being a life seving friend is added to your very impressive resume of life. That last paragraph was so profound. It touch me.


    • Dirt Man is a southern gentleman…I am fortunate as my sister is to have you as her southern gentleman.
      Your family is our rock in this large extended one we have.
      Thank you…we had a wonderful visit and it was way too short.

  3. OH MY! Makes me want to check out all the old folk in my neighborhood. The thing is they’re probably less isolated than we are. We’re so far back off the road no one stopped in at Halloween and no one ever does. The house can’t be seen from the road. I’m one of those that needs the reminder not to isolate myself from others. Thanks Suzi. I’ll stay in touch with neighbors.

    • We live right off a busy eight lane road and a friendly neighborhood…neighbors were always willing to help her and she just started pushing her family and everyone else away, sad.

  4. I am so proud of both of you. You are both kind and good hearted people. There are people in the world who would have maybe called 911 and just left. She’s fortunate to have such wonderful neighbors. Thank God for those older trick or treaters!

    • Peggy, are you commenting on Dwight’s profile?
      Absolutely thankful for those trick or treaters.
      It’s good to know your neighbors as we can help each other out in a pinch.

    • She’s a bit of a mystery, but there are a few neighbors who’ve lived here longer than our twenty years and were able to shed some light to point us in the correct direction.

  5. WOW! What a story, Suzi!

    And you’re right….Halloween very possibly saved this woman’s life.

    And bless you and Dirt Man for your kindness and concern for her.

    It’s ironic you shared this because there is an elderly woman who lives in my building who is very frail. And I often worry about her because she seems alone. However, she does get out and mingle, but still, I often wonder if she has any family close by.

    Thank you for sharing this, my friend.


    P.S. LOVE your post photo!!!

    • I think we need to look out for those who can’t look out for themselves. It’s kind of you to keep an eye out for her.
      I had taken the photo of the bowl with the M&M’s tipping over the side like they were trying to escape and Dirt Man doctored it with the M&M characters for me.

  6. Wow, what a scary Halloween story you told. We all think we have life under control, but things happen; whether you need to take a kid to the ER and drop another one off at a neighbors (as I have done), or you can’t make it home in time and need assistance with your pet. It is important to know your neighbors and help each other out, knowing they will return the favor when you need them. Thanks for your reminder to us all to reach out to others.

    • We never know when we’ll need someone. Many years ago when my hubby was out of town and temporarily out of reach by phone, my house flooded from a bursted hot water tank…my neighbor came to the rescue. He knew exactly what to do and who to call. He rolled up his sleeves and got to work, physically removing furniture etc… I was extremely grateful.

  7. Excellent advice, Suzicate! As our world becomes more mobile and family and friends move away from each other, it behooves us all to reach out and stay connected with our neighbors, fellow church members, etc. True, we all arrive and depart alone, but we shouldn’t have to take that literally! I’m so glad you and Dirt Man were there for that poor woman — I hope she knows now that you two can be trusted.

  8. Wow, what an emotional Halloween, I would have broken down and had some candy after something like that! You and Dirt Man are such wonderful neighbors. We’ve recently reached out to the widow next door after her husband passed and John now mows her yard for her and we watch for any signs of distress since she’s elderly and quite alone. It’s sad.
    You’re linked!

    • That’s nice that John helps her out. The elderly really do need the yonger generation and they have lots to teach us from their experiences if we’re willing to listen to them as well.

  9. Loved this story, SuZicate! What great neighbours you both are! That woman certainly knew who to call on for help.

    It’s terribly sad when fear causes people to put up barriers and shields. Often it takes quiet, but persistent kindness and attention to override the detachment that fearful people display.

    How many times have I been met with a defensive gruffness that has kept me from going back? Amazing what a plate of cookies or some fresh flowers can do.

    I believe that people who appear the most unlovable are the ones who are crying for love the most.

    • We’ve helped her clean her yard after hurricanes and such throughout the twenty years we’ve lived here. We used to talk to her often, but now we almost never see her out and about.

  10. Holy Moly! What a sad story. I understand that one might distance themselves from some people, but to isolate oneself from everyone? Wow. Poor woman. I imagine that she was in great pain/is very insecure.

    I got teary-eyed when I read that one of her relatives would be there if she allowed it. What a loving relative. What a big heart they must have to have it be open even though they might be rejected.

    You guys are great neighbors.

    nrhatch’s comment is funny!

  11. So glad you shared this, Suzicate! We need more connections to one another in a world where machines (dare I say whilst typing on one, yikes), are making social illiterates out of many folks. I realize that your neighbour’s choice to isolate had nothing to do with technology but it’s one of my gripes about losing our human connection, the reason we are here, I believe. Thanks for the great reminder on responding to those who ask for help when they need it, not only to respond but to ask ourselves if we need to. 🙂

  12. I’m glad you guys were able to help her. I hope she sees that allowing others to help isn’t a sign of weakness, but instead, is important for survival.

    I remember when I was young (about 3rd grade maybe) a friend’s grandma didn’t feel well and went to lay down. She told us to go out and play. We hesitated because she was sweating and breathing a little heavy (she had been vacuuming), but we obeyed. We went back an hour later and she was much worse. We ran across the street and got my grandma to help. An ambulance took my friend’s grandma to the hospital where she died later that night. I’ve often wondered if we’d gotten my grandma right away if t would have helped. I’ll never know…

    • I think she has realized she needs to trust a little and reach out, and looks like things will be ok for her.
      That must have been quite frightening for you as a child.

  13. I think that it is great that people were there to help in her time of need. It is way too easy to isolate yourself from others. Great advice for those living alone.

  14. We are our brothers’ keepers. Or we should be! Bless you and Dirt Man for being such caring neighbors. I’m sure it was a very moving experience for her to have you show so much concern.

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