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Fort Bend County, At Large
By Cheryl Skinner

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.

Politics, opinions and Halloween

Doing a weekly column often presents a mish-mash of thoughts about what has been going on and which incident or issue has evoked enough feeling to make it to this valued little place where I can express myself without worrying about presenting both sides of any given issue. That is sometimes a challenge itself—just being opinionated. At any rate, this week it crossed my mind that I might mention commissioners approving $1,620 for 10 Fresno/Arcola area students to have the funds to pay out of district fees to Houston Community College. Those funds come from the controversial “BFI tipping fees” so some will say it is just a government payoff and officials are trying to get on the good side of all those opposing the landfill expansion, so I decided not to go there.

Then I started to write a few words about the $2,130 the county approved last week to pay the City of Richmond for “fire protection services provided without a purchase order during rerouting of water line for the Jail Expansion Project” Precinct 1 Commissioner Tom Stavinoha just couldn’t let this mundane item go forth without saying “Was that the one fire truck parked out there on that one day?” But I thought ‘what the heck’ the county pays $5,000 a month in rent for a house near the jail, what is the big deal.

Then I was going to mention that a lease agreement with Robert Alanis Enterprises for food service operation at the Travis Annex calls for a zero monthly fee. Back when Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert’s daughter leased the space, she paid $400 a month. Wonder if the same person who gripe constantly about Hebert and his special interest connections, donors etc. feel it was unfair for a relative of his to pay 400% more than the last few folks. Probably not but it is food for thought, so to speak.

Then I decided to forget it all and write about Halloween, which is tonight, and a whole lot more fun than politics and opinions. It has been a few years since our youngest child (now age 25) went out trick or treating, but I will never forget his last venture before he outgrew trick or treating.

That year he was 14, I think. There had been reports of problems near Sugar Land with vans trying to entice children inside. Our son and his friends were teens but sensible teens. They wanted to go out for that last hooray, but felt uneasy with the warnings being issued by the media. Finally, they came up with the perfect solution: they would ask Mom (me) to accompany them for safety, but I could not go dressed as a Mom—I had to go in full costume so others would not know these young men were being supervised. So, I dressed up like a teenage werewolf with full head mask, jeans, and a flannel shirt. I took off the tell tale wedding rings and off we went—house to house through Sugar Land. The boys were thoroughly enjoying the fact that simply by having me along they were pulling a “trick” on everyone and getting treats too. They felt safe and yet they didn’t feel like little kids out with a parent.

As for me—I have to admit that I haven’t ever in my whole entire life enjoyed a Halloween as much as I did that one. Here I was going door to door and getting quite a huge load of treats from neighbors, politicians, police officers and a few enemies. Sometimes it is neat to get out of character, let your hair down (and fangs out) and enjoy the moment.

That evening was a total success and has remained a topic of conversation for years. I thought I had pulled off the ultimate trick until that Monday after Halloween when our son came home and said one of his friends was still so excited about their unique Halloween that he shared the information with the teacher. That teacher happened to be the wife of a Missouri City police officer who lived on our block and generously filled our bags with goodies. Oops—cover blown!

Tonight is Halloween and kids of all ages will be out knocking on doors in the darkness of night. Make sure they are safe—even if you have to assume a hidden identity to do so. And, when you turn off the light after giving out goodies, just for a moment think back to the goblins, witches and warlocks—or teenage werewolves—who came to your door and wonder if any of them might have been me ... I do have grandkids who are teens now, you know!


Contact skinnerc1@tconline.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  November 28, 2007