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HALLOWEEN OP-ED: Candy and Face Paint
As she rounded the corner toward another street with her big plastic pumpkin for catching trick-or-treat candy in hand, her walker hit a spot in the road where the asphalt was chunked out. She was tumbling before she even knew what happened. “Oh-oh,” she said. Her candy was all over the road, and, to top it off, she had skinned her knee when she fell. A friend that was with her leaned down and helped her get up, and two other kids stopped to help her pick up her candy. It was then that she saw the teenagers. Three boys, about 15 or 16 years old; they were looking at her and the candy on the road.
As the older boys started putting the candy in their pockets, one of Camille’s friends started yelling at them, “Hey, that’s not yours!” The older boys laughed, and ran down the street. Even though they were in costumes, Cami thought that she knew one of them from church. Unaware of the fact that her mom was only a few houses behind her, Camille began to cry softly. Camille had wanted to go this year with a group of friends, without her mom, but she was only allowed to be out for one hour and the time was almost up. Now she had only had a little candy in her pumpkin – and not much time to make up for what had been taken by the boys.
It was only a few seconds before her mom was there, with her arm around Camille. She said, “I’ll take care of it, honey.” Pulling out her cell phone, she talked for a minute or two, then told Camille to wait for just a second, that the boys were bringing back her candy. Just over the rise, here came the boys – all three of them – on a dead run. They had all removed their masks – so instructed by their father – and apologized for taking her candy. Not only did they return what they had taken from her, but all of the candy that they had gathered was poured into Camille’s plastic pumpkin. Realizing that the three boys were the pastor’s sons explained to Camille why the candy was being returned.
As Camille thanked them for the candy, her mother was talking to them – one at a time – and she wasn’t very quiet about it. “What a disgraceful thing you have done,” Camille heard her say. “You only brought it back because I called your mother, you should all be ashamed of yourselves.”
“You do know that your parents are ashamed of you, don’t you? You need to go home; your father is waiting to talk to you.”
With that, the boys headed home, not quite in the same hurry as they were to bring back the candy. They knew they were in trouble. When they got there, they were all sent to their rooms, their parents told them that the punishment had not yet been decided.
At breakfast, they were met with a very cool reception by their parents – who told them that their punishment was waiting in the hallway. As they walked toward the front door, they saw three walkers, one for each of them. “For the next week, you will go nowhere without a walker, you will lean on it and not let it out of your reach, just like Camille.”
By the end of the week, they had all gained an acute awareness of her reliance upon this equipment, how it limited mobility, especially the one that played basketball, who was benched for the time he had to use the walker.
With all three boys at the pulpit on Sunday, walkers in hand, wearing white face paint, they became an object lesson. The pastor said, “Think about the other person, not just yourself. That’s what Jesus did. That is what we must do.”