Today, October 31st is Halloween in Mount Perry, Florida. In our recorded history we are told that on this very day, many, many years ago the Weiner was invented by an enterprising butcher named Mashed Von Melon. After his invention had become world famous, as we all know it has, he was cheated of the accolades which should have been heaped upon him.
As a result he vowed, at the time of his death, he would return to the land of the living each year on the date of his invention, and force the living to honor his name. Thus every year since then, Von Melonís spirit has risen up from the melon patch where his butcher shop used to stand. It is only fitting that from the day of his funeral fire, melons are the only things that will grow on this spot.
It seems Von Melon fancied himself a Viking of sorts. His last request was to be cremated in the burning of his own butcher shop. Once freed of his mortal remains, his spirit now moves freely about Mount Perry, spreading terror among the people who donít honor his name.
It is indeed a terrifying sight to stand at the fence around the melon patch, watching his ghostly apparition rise up out of the ground and float off to haunt the nonbeliever. Those of us who do believe stand by the fence and cheer him on.
In an effort to stem the haunting and appease his restless spirit many of Mount Perryís residents flock to the beach on this day, and light small fires right at evening time. They sit around these fires, sing cheerful songs, drink beer, roast Hot Dogs and toast Marshmallows.
The tourist trade is encouraged to attend these festivities. After all, we really donít want these visitors to our fair town being terrorized by Von Mellonís spirit without understanding why itís happening. With the prospect of free food and beer, most are quite willing to attend.
Those few who choose not to attend these gatherings at the beach, can expect a visit from Von Melonís angry and somewhat destructive spirit. The spirit has been known to overturn birdbaths, up root gardens, overturn outhouses and spread wet toilet paper all over their yards..
It is well to ask, why do people put up with the things mentioned above, when it would be so easy to avoid. Then there are those who insist on cooking hamburgers or chicken, over their open fire instead of hot dogs and marshmallows.
To begin with, both chicken and hamburgers have a fat content. As the fat renders out of the meat, it causes the fire to flare up. If youíre sitting too close, the flaring fire burns the hair off your face. The specter of a hairless face leering at you across a small campfire can be a terrifying experience for small children, especially the little ones whoíve been drinking a little too much beer.
Lastly, there is the prospect Von Melon will find you there cooking things other than his inventions and become angered. After all, we are there to honor his memory, not to just stuff ourselves with chicken and burgers.
The reason for the cheerful songs is to invite the spirit of Von Melon to join your group and share what you cook and drink. This only stands to reason, as the spirit is probably very lonely, hungry and cold. Although no one has ever seen Von Melonís spirit at the campfire, the people at the fire know heís there by the warm feeling they get as they huddle around the fire.
The drinking of beer is to keep your throat wet so you can sing lively tunes. If enough beer is drunk the tunes usually become lyrics in a short period of time. Things like:
There once was a man from Dundee.
Who slept with a baboon in a tree.
The results were most horrid.
All head and no forehead.
As for toasting Marshmallows, marshmallow, is a contraction on Von Melonís name. Over time Von Melonís name became shortened and contorted from Mashed Von Melon to Marshmallow. It is assumed that toasting the Marshmallow helps warm Von Melonís spirit on these cool fall nights.
The large Marshmallow is considered the best kind to toast as the small type tend to burn quickly and fall of the stick into the fire. Should the Marshmallow fall off the stick into the fire, Von Melonís spirit gets burned, the spirit becomes angry. His angry spirit has been known to turn on the people around the campfire and unleash his vengeance with pranks of various kinds.
These pranks are usually harmless, the spirit realizes the people around the fire honor him and the Marshmallow falling into the fire was only an accident.
Last but not least is the Hot Dog. Why a Hot Dog you may well ask? Let me explain: Mr. Von Melon was of German extraction. The original sausage was called a Weiner. Some time after Von Melonís death, it was realized what a great contribution the man had made to our society. After all there are few places in our great country where you canít find at least one place selling Hot Dogs.
The people of Mount Perry decided to name a holiday after him. The holiday would correspond to the date of his death by celebrating his invention the Hot Dog or as he called it the Weiner. The name of the holiday started our as, ďThe Day We Celebrate The Hallowed WeinerĒ. Who wanted to remember a name that long for eternity. Over time, the name was shortened to Halloween. This seemed to satisfy all concerned.
Other explanations of the origin of this celebration must be taken with a grain of salt!
Copyright ©2001 Robert P. Herbst. All rights reserved.
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