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Gone Fishing

Life on and off the waters of the Wood River Valley


Oct 27, 2010 - 01:55 PM

{In honor of this being the first year my oldest son, Jack, will go out trick or treating, it seems only fair that I come clean with my feelings about his mother’s favorite holiday, Halloween. Only he’s not allowed to read this until he’s 21, or at least old enough to afford his own dental insurance.}

If you were to ask a handful of dentists if they approved of Halloween, there’s no doubt that most of them would give the candy-coated holiday a hearty, latex glove-covered thumbs up.

Of course, this is a piece of modern journalism, so there’s really no point in interviewing any actual dentists. Rather, we’ll just make quotes up and attribute them to make believe dentists with wacky names. Besides, dentists usually do all the talking anyway.

“Halloween is a wonderful holiday. We should celebrate it more often,” approved Dr. Les Plaque.

“It’s not just good for the kids, the parents eat a lot of candy, too,” explained Dr. D. Kay.

“I hope you have dental insurance, buddy,” said Dr. Ben Dover.

“It’s just another lie that we tell people to get them to eat massive quantities of sugar,” admitted Dr. Hugh Betcha. “We follow Halloween up with candied yams and pumpkin pies, candy canes, boxes of chocolates, little Easter Bunnies that look and feel like seat cushions but are sweet enough that you want to gobble ‘em up by the handful. And don’t get me started on apple pies and ice cream trucks…But I can’t waste all day talking to you, my drilling finger is gettin’ itchy!”

Halloween, perhaps more so than any other holiday, fully embraces dishonesty. Heck, it’s all about disguising yourself and then running around telling strangers to give you things for free or else there’ll be some serious consequences: Trick or Treat! It’s pretty much the same manner most bank robbers use, which help’s explain why, from the Bahamas to Beantown, Halloween is one of the most popular days of the year for armed robbery. In fact, the most memorable Halloween I ever had happened right here in good ol’ Hailey, Idaho—and what made it so memorable was a lie the size of Bald Mountain.


It was a brisk and dry last night of October. Most of the leaves had fallen and the moon was nearly full. My girlfriend and fellow local twenty-something (who I believe was dressed as either Countess Dracula or one of the Witches of Eastwick, while I was dressed up as the love-child of Bruce Lee and Kathie Lee Gifford) had been invited to the Halloween party of a sweet-as-pie, older, single mom. If only to be polite, we stopped by her shindig with naive plans of staying just long enough for a quick hello and drink before heading on to a few other, more raucous soirees.

We showed up to the party at a rather early hour and soon discovered we were pretty much the youngest people there. As we politely mingled, our hostess, who still looked like June “Leave it Beaver’s mom” Cleaver, even though she was dressed up like a devil, came and offered us a plate of freshly baked brownies.

“Oh, you must try some,” she squealed, shoving the plate at us. “ I made them myself. You know I really love to bake and I really love it when people enjoy my cooking.”

As we each grabbed one, my date joked, “These aren’t ‘special’ brownies are they?”

“Of course they’re special. I made them especially with love,” she said, and it seemed as if her eyes literally twinkled like stars and little blue birds fluttered on her shoulder—oh wait, that was later.

We innocently accepted the brownies, which were delicious and didn’t smell anything like either Cheech or Chong. About an hour later, the party had really, almost miraculously, turned into a real joyous affair. There were belly dancers, belly-aching laughter and group hugs galore. Eventually, we bumped back into our hostess who giggled like a loon, “Those were ‘special’ brownies, if you know what I mean. I hope you have fun at my party!”


And indeed we did, even if it took a big lie and a probable felony to get us there. My date that night and I eventually even went on to get married, and that night, no doubt, helped enflame our budding romance.

Some of the people at that party that night aren’t around anymore. But some are, and they don’t have to worry about me squealing on them. I can’t remember most of you anyway, that night was pretty hazy.

Besides, I’ve already uttered all I know right here: Halloween is a celebration of lying and tooth decay; always be wary of brownies at parties, no matter who made them; and my working theory is that Halloween was invented by dentists. Which isn’t as sound as the theory espoused by Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have anything to remember.”



Sun Valley Magazine encourages its readers to post thoughtful and respectful comments on all of our online stories. Your comments may be edited for length and language.

Old to new | New to old
Oct 27, 2010 09:07 pm
 Posted by  Chicks in Charge

Hilarious. Loving the new blog. Laughing all the way and NO special brownies:-)

Oct 28, 2010 09:23 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Cheech: What's in the stuff man?
Chong: Mostly Maui Waui man, but it's got some Labrador in it.

Nov 2, 2010 10:18 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

If "modern journalism" was as good as this blog, print media would be flourishing.

Nov 2, 2010 12:34 pm
 Posted by  Mac

Thanks for the nice comments, and especially for reading!
I'll be sure to avoid the brownies next time, as well as anything that comes out of the business end of a Labrador!!!

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About This Blog

Whether he’s being out-fished by his trash talking mother-in-law, guiding one of his young sons through the perils of manhood or finding inspiration from the people of the Wood River Valley, Mike McKenna’s award-winning writing is always sure to entertain. Order a copy of Mike's highly-acclaimed book, "Angling Around Sun Valley: A year-round fly fishing guide to South Central Idaho" from Silver Creek Outfitters.

Gone Fishing's awards include: "Best Blog" 2010 & 2011 by the Idaho Press Club, "Best Web-only Article" of 2011 by the Outdoor Writers Association of California and "Best Fishing" & "Best Humor" blogs of 2012 by the Outdoor Writers Association of America.


"Angling Around Sun Valley" was selected as the "Best Book" of 2013 by Northwest Outdoor Writers Association!

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