Senior Living: The tricks and treats change over the years

Once candy was the thing, now it’s late nights and small glasses of wine

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Halloween is a week away, and the costume is set in my closet: Baggy pants and shirts that fit me like a barn fits a horse.

Redden my nose and I’m ready.

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Or at least I would be ready and rarin’ to go were I 65 years younger and addicted to candy. But as a septuagenarian, I’ll give trick-or-treating a pass.

Or I’ll adhere to it on a daily basis. The trick is staying up past 9:30; the treat is a small glass of wine with dinner.

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Even back in the distant youth, Halloween wasn’t a favoured occasion. My standard costume was what my mother threw together — kerchief over my head and application of Mom’s lipstick, rouge and eyeshadow.

A female impersonator … but not nearly good enough at it to fool anyone.

In my working-class neighbourhood, none of my fellow trick-or-treaters wore elaborate costumes. Our parents threw together some outfits, we rang bells at apartments and duplexes, we collected a few candies, some coins for UNICEF and called it a night.

(UNICEF’s small orange collection boxes were discontinued when pennies ceased circulation in Canada. Like everything else, the UNICEF campaign has moved to digital donations through QR codes.)

My daughter enjoyed Halloween in our suburban neighbourhood. A good haul of candy would be apportioned over the next week or two.

More recently, I was living alone and distributing candy to the very few costumed kids who rang the bell.

Most recently, I’m living with my partner in a mostly-seniors condo neighbourhood where trick-or-treaters are as rare as street hockey.

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Are costumed young’uns out and around in the cities and suburbs?

Or are they home playing video games?


My annual addiction to sports on TV is taking hold.

The NHL season began two weeks ago. The CFL playoffs begin Nov. 4. The NFL is rolling along in midseason, as is the English Premier soccer league.

Have I listed enough televised games for you?

Alternatively, have I alienated readers who don’t give a rip about sports?

I should be in the latter category.

I was raised by a divorced mom and living 750 kilometres from the alcoholic father who had zero contact with us. The male influence in my life was my grandfather. He grew up in Fiddler on the Roof territory in czarist Russia — decades before skates hit the ice in the USSR.

My grandfather talked about politics and opera. He had zero interest in sports.

But except for a couple of fem-costumed Halloween outings, I was a boy — a Canadian boy, with what that implies.

I grew up playing ball hockey on our street. The games would be interrupted by cars rolling by.

I watched hockey on TV … in living black-and-white. And now I can watch it in vibrant colour on a 55-inch LG.

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(That fancy-shmantzy TV currently resides in the townhouse I visit occasionally to water the plants and wallow in nostalgia … but I digress.)

My partner’s 39-inch Sharp is a nice TV. And I’ve converted her to British soccer. Among our Loto-winning fantasies is a live game at the historic Anfield stadium in Liverpool.

But I haven’t converted her to football and/or hockey. So negotiations are ongoing.

NFL football is THE sport on TV in the U.S. Were I totally addicted, I could tune in a 1 p.m. on a Sunday and watch non-stop until about 11.

Then the big Monday game …

And hockey on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday afternoon …

OK, I’m drifting off into addiction.

Fortunately, my partner is steering me toward detox.

Two viewers are sharing one TV screen. And fortunately, again, I share her taste for quality drama and comedy.

I won’t go into specifics (saving that for another column), but we have some shows that we tune in faithfully.

Bottom line: I know she’ll let me watch the Super Bowl.

And the Stanley Cup finals … if my Canadiens are in it.

— Mike Boone writes the Life in the 70s column. [email protected]

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Originally posted 2023-10-24 14:41:15.