Not Too Far to Fall

October 16, 2013 — If you ask me to run a quick errand to CVS, I’ll probably groan and shift slightly on the couch. If you ask me to keep you company on an eight-hour drive because your parents guilted you into visiting your grandmother for a few hours, I’ll show up at your door at 4:30 am with Croissan’wiches from Burger King. What can I say, I dig a road trip.

However, I freely admit that as a result of my farsightedness, I often miss what’s right outside my front door. But lately I’ve been getting better. Here’s some proof. You see, all of the pictures in this post were taken within less than a mile from my house.

I’ve never felt any special affinity for my neighborhood, but after driving around and seeing firsthand what you’re seeing in these photos, I feel like Corey Feldman at the very end of The Burbs: “God, I love this street.”

Of course, I'm going to start with house decorations. There aren't a ton within walking distance of my house, at least not this early before Halloween night, but these two houses across the street from each other make up for everybody else's sins. In fact, this is the place I ran to a couple of years back when it was snowing in October and wanted to get images of Halloween decorations with breasts of newfallen snow.

I call this the three-season tree. I'm not sure if it does this every year, but this year it showcased green boughs, orange boughs, and bare branches simultaneously. I took this pic of it about a week past its optimal balancing point. 

Oh, this house. In the past, it wasn't as overgrown, and it was a lot easier to see how strange this house was. It's made to look like a castle, but  these days, it's most castle-like feature, a conical turret, is hidden behind that middle bush. Now it seems more creepy than kooky, but it's still cool. Check out the close-up on the witch weather vane below.

So I've written two death-related travel books and am constantly mining the macabre on OTIS, but I've never brought up the fact that the site of a 17th century family massacre is memorialized about three-fourths of a mile from my porch. And that's because I visited it for the first time last week (Thanks, Greg).

Foggy mornings are like Christmas at my house, all of us rushing downstairs in our footie pajamas and racing to the cemetery across the road to take in the unique ambiance that only a foggy cemetery can offer.

Finally, again within walking distance, is a multi-house haunted attraction called Fright Kingdom...that I've never been to. In fact, this was the first time that I've ever seen its entrance. I see signs for it every year, including the hearse it uses as a sign, but it's just never been in my tarot cards. My wife can't stand these things, and I don't have many friends that dig 'em, either, and these things aren't exactly the type of entertainment you take solo, so I usually only get to a haunted house every other season or so.

Doesn't matter, though. Maybe not this year, maybe not next, but one tipsy night I'm going to head over there and go through the mazes while shouting "Howdy, Neighbor!" at every mutilated spook that jumps out at me.

So welcome to my world. Your shift on the neighborhood watch starts next week.