By tonight we had run out of excuses. After dinner, Allyson grabbed the bowl and pulled on my pantleg until I agreed to walk her across the street to Ethan's friend Makayla's house. I figured we'd hit that one house and she'd be satisfied.
We put on our coats and Allyson's pink hat, but I didn't bother to track down our gloves, or to put on real shoes. I wore my white socks and my aqua shower thongs. (We know them really well.) Ethan, who'd decided to tag along and see if anything funny happened, didn't even wear a coat.
While Ethan rang the bell, Allyson stood in front of their door with the bowl held in her outstretched hands. Just before the door opened, I noticed a smudge of barbecue sauce on the bowl from Allyson's sticky fingers. I rearranged the candies to hide the spot.
"How sweet!" she said with a laugh, as their dog slipped out between our legs. She invited us in, and Allyson distributed the candy canes to Makayla and her little brother Jacob, and also to one of their cousins who was over for a visit. We stood and talked for a minute about how cold it was (25 degrees Fahrenheit!).
As soon as she'd passed out the candy, Allyson was ready to go. She wished them a merry Christmas and opened the storm door, where the poor dog was anxiously waiting to get back into the warm house.
"Thank you for the candy!" Kindra said.
"You're welcome," Allyson said. "We got lots of candy, enough for all the people!"
"That's great!" Kindra replied.
"Okay, Allyson, time to get back home," I said.
"No, we have to give away more candy!"
"Well, I guess we can go to the next-door neighbors," I said reluctantly. It looked pretty dark inside, and I fervently hoped they weren't home. You may remember this neighbor as the one I tried to give the cheap Walmart water bottle to, after I'd mistaken him for the father of Ethan's friend Tin. So you can imagine that I didn't want to give him ANOTHER reason to believe that the neighbor lady is crazy.
"You guys go on," said Ethan. "I'll wait here in the driveway."
When we got to the door, however, Ethan was right behind us. He probably hoped to witness another embarrassing moment.
My hopes were realized when no one came to the door after two rings and a hearty knock. "I think they're not home," Allyson said, crestfallen.
"Oh well," I said. "We can try again tomorrow. Let's get inside where it's warm."
"No!" she cried. "We have to give away more candy. Let's go to another house!"
"But we don't know any other neighbors," Ethan protested.
"We have to give away our candy!" Allyson repeated, on the verge of tears.
"Well, there are the neighbors just around the corner. We know them a little," I admitted. (They probably think of us as the neighbors with the obnoxious dog who barks at all hours.)
"Yes, let's go there!" Allyson agreed, breaking into a run.
Again, Ethan came along for the show. Their house was also dark, and I was surprised to find that I was almost as disappointed as Allyson when no one answered the door.
"Let's go to the next house," Allyson said, undaunted.
"We could go over to Tin's," Ethan suggested, getting into the spirit.
"Too far," I complained. "My hands are freezing."
"It's not that far," he argued.
"Okay, let's go."
I held Allyson's icy hand as we crossed the side street. Ethan carried the bowl because I was afraid Allyson might drop it and break it.
"Hey, look what I found!" Ethan shouted, stooping in the middle of the street to pick up a pointed black stick.
"What is it?" I asked.
"It's a stick. It kind of looks like a sword," Ethan answered.
As Allyson and I hurried up Tin's walk, Ethan lagged behind. "Hurry up," I urged. "I'm cold." Taking a closer look, I realized he was busy picking up all the candy canes, which he'd dropped in the grass. "What happened?"
"I was swinging the stick like a sword," he explained, without a trace of embarrassment.
He handed the bowl back to Allyson and rang the doorbell.
Tin's father answered--the real one, this time--and greeted us warmly. I blurted out my explanation, and he didn't even seemed surprised.
"Thank you!" he said with a grin. Tin took a candy for himself and his little sister, who is just six months older than Allyson. He and his dad wished us a merry Christmas.
"Tell him merry Christmas," I whispered. Allyson mumbled it shyly, too low to be heard.
As we walked back down the walk, though, she hollered, "We have a Mickey Mouse balloon!" I didn't bother to explain that she was referring to a yard inflatable.
"Merry Christmas," Tin's dad repeated.
By now we were all in high spirits, and there were still quite a few candy canes left in the bowl. "He was really happy, wasn't he?" Ethan asked.
"Yes. You know, this is just like trick-or-treating, but in reverse," I said.
Just One More
"Can't we do one more house?" Allyson pleaded, which really WAS like trick-or-treating. She pointed at a house with lots of colorful lights. "Let's go to that one."
"But we don't know them," I objected.
"We can just ask them their names," she said. I couldn't argue with that logic.
I was still giggling when the man answered the door. "We're your neighbors from there on the corner," I said. "This is Allyson, and she wanted to bring you some candy canes."
Three teenaged girls gathered around, all of them laughing. The man introduced himself and his daughters, and then his wife, who'd just come out of the kitchen to see what was going on. I grinned as I explained how Allyson had said we could just ask their names.
"Oh, I'm Sarah, and this is my son Ethan," I said.
"Where do you live again?" he asked. I gestured to our house on the corner.
"Well, it's nice to meet you," he said. "Have a merry Christmas!"
"Merry Christmas!" Allyson shouted. "We have a Mickey Mouse balloon!" She was still jabbering when he closed the door.
We laughed jubilantly all the way home, and then we laughed some more as we repeated the crazy story to Bill, who'd been home washing dishes.
"It was fun!" Ethan said.
"I think this should be one of our Christmas traditions," I said.
"We'll see," Bill said.