October 28, 2021
As Melissa and I were driving along one of the main streets of our nearby town we came across a yard filled with dozens of spooky figures arraigned in a display across the front of a residence. I figured this was a photo op so I asked Melissa to pull over so I could get a shot. She dutifully pulled off the main throughfare and onto the side street allowing me to get get the perfect shot of the Halloween display. While we were trying to get the shot, a resident of the subdivision pulled up behind us and rather than going around, decided to honk to get us to move. We took our photo and moved on.
I received a post on my ESPN feed concerning a similar display on the lawn of retired defensive lineman, Bruce Smith. Smith spent nearly two decades terrorizing opposing quarterbacks in the NFL and now has a Halloween display to prove it. The Hall of Fame defensive end put his career on display by decorating his front lawn with 76 tombstones, representing the 76 quarterbacks he sacked during his career with the Buffalo Bills and Washington Football Team. Smith was inspired by Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who started the trend by putting tombstones and taking a shot of them on his front yard of the quarterbacks he sacked during the 2021 season. During his time in the NFL, Smith became one of the most feared defenders to play the game as part of the Bills’ four AFC title teams in the early 1990’s. Smith is the NFL’s all-time sacks leader with 200 during his 19-year career. Smith and his impressive graveyard now reside in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The annual fall ritual of Halloween and autumn decorating includes brightly colored pumpkins, dried corn stalks, hay bales, scarecrows and autumn leaves which are on display on porches, doorways, and yards throughout communities. The scarier and more frightening Halloween decor comes along with fall decorations as well, and many people add their own personal vibe to the spooky flair of Halloween. In Northeast Ohio they have even dedicated a webpage to identify local yards they believe to be “over the top” with their display. These include inflatables, statues, lights set to musical scores, and scary scenes. The page encourages visitors to drop by the various locations, and to share an additional display if you think it is worthy. It seems Halloween is competing with Christmas.
Thoughts: Thousands of years ago there was an end of the summer festival that was known as Samhain. Samhain tradition had many deep supernatural practices that were an integral part of the annual festival. The uneducated people of the time were fearful of the season and believed that the end of the harvest and the onset of winter created an opportunity for the spirits of the deceased to return and mingle with the living. I am not sure if that could have been any worse than getting sacked by Bruce Smith. Samhain and Smith represent two of humanities greatest fears, fear of the unknown and fear of the known. We seem to be more frightened by the unknown we allow our minds to imagine all the “what if’s” that are possible. When we know what our fear is we can face it. We are at a point where we can face the pandemic and overcome the frightening aspects. Now we just need to do it. Follow the science. Change is coming and it starts with you.