By now my collection of stuffed bats should be populating the living and dining rooms. The candlesticks with the spider webs should be decorating the mantle, and my framed picture of “Father Devlin” from The Ghoulish Gallery should be displayed where visitors can watch the somber priest turn into a screaming vampire.
I’m slightly behind schedule.
My collection, built around the theme of my Dracula memoir, is most suitable for Halloween. In the beginning I kept “everybody” in my office. Black bats, a carved Dracula, my little doll of Christopher Lee as the Count, an evil eye from Turkey, Father Devlin, and others surrounded me while I worked. A few years ago I ran out of room and had to put most of my little friends in storage. In October they get to take over the house for a few weeks. I hang the little ones from my dining-room chandelier and put the rest on the tables and chairs.
And, because I skipped spring cleaning, fall cleaning is strongly indicated as a preliminary step. The signals are all there; for instance, every autumn as I track in and out, small fallen leaves from the locust tree out front blow in and settle on my carpets. When I look down, chances are good that I’ll think at least one is a bug. That’s a perfect incentive to vacuum.
This is the weekend.
I started yesterday, but instead of starting in the rooms people would see, I sat on the bedroom floor and de-cluttered a few of my dresser drawers. It’s very important, you know, to divide travel gadgets into backpacking and non- and to separate non-latex bandages from the regular kind in one’s medical kit.
Before I went to Romania, I bought a “healthy traveler" kit online in anticipation of--well, if you know me at all, you can fill in that blank: in anticipation of every possible ailment short of a vampire bite. The kit was filled with little packets of pills, every label unfamiliar. Luckily the names were decoded on a sheet of cardboard included with the medications, but every now and then I have to go back in and sort through the pile and organize it. Oh, yes. It wouldn’t do to pop a couple Alcalak when what you really need is Decorel Forte.
You can see why I didn’t vacuum.
I hope to be able to report in a few days that I’ve decorated for Halloween. That would indicate an absence of autumn leaves as well, although I have so many that I could sprinkle them along the mantle instead, the way people do with Christmas greens. Happy October!