Very early this morning, the weather forecasters were all aflutter about Tuesday’s potentially record-breaking, 90-plus temps. Also on the a.m. weather agenda was impending sprinkles destined to arrive Downriver about the same time I’d embark on my walk. Sigh. So, do I don my sweats, lace up my walking shoes and walk loops around Memorial Park to stay close to home, or do I stay inside and have a leisurely second cup of coffee and ease into my day? Decisions, decisions … nope, I have to meet my walking goal, but just before I removed my headphones I heard the news anchor ask the weatherman what the ominous big green blob on the WWJ interactive radar map signified? A big green blob didn’t sound too promising, but I went anyway since it was cool and refreshing and I vowed to keep an eye to the sky. It seems since Labor Day the shorter days are really noticeable, especially on an overcast morning like today when it takes forever to get light. Against my better judgment I left when it was still a little dusky out and after turning the corner in the dawn’s early light, a series of unusual items really piqued my interest and gave me cause to pause … in short, to use a popular phrase, I was “creeped out”!
Let me preface by saying it is garbage day in the neighborhood. The very first item I saw was rather macabre … a huge head rising out of a garbage can. In the semi-light, until I got close enough to see what it was, all I could see was a great horned “thing” with huge eyes. I had myself whipped into a frenzy that it was akin to “Nessy” – yes, it was nearly that big! On closer inspection, it became evident that the ghastly head was actually a large sea serpent pool toy. The critter was a cross between Dino from “The Flintstones” T.V. show and maybe some kin to the purple people eater. The head was still inflated and intact yet the rest of the flotation device had no doubt suffered a puncture because it was flatter than a pancake and rolled up behind the head. It had huge lime-green glassy-looking eyes that stared back at me. The humongous head had a pair of horns and a long tongue hanging out of its mouth. Yikes!
Happily I passed that scene and down the rest of the block it must have been an unwritten rule that every pool owner must drain their pool the weekend after Labor Day; I had to walk with my head looking down so I didn’t have a trip-and-fall because hoses, looking suspiciously like longish snakes in the lowlight, ran from backyard to curbside emptying pool water into the street. Further, it seemed to me that half the homeowners had trashed their inflatable kiddie pools and crumpled-up metal wading pools, resulting in more out-sized and sinister-looking darkish blobs every few houses in the still-shadowy morning.
I reached the street’s dead end and crossed over and started up the opposite side only to see still another strange silhouette in the gray morn. Well what have we here? A yard waste bag filled to capacity and standing on its own, but what is crawling out it? OMG! A huge bucket-like head was popping out of the top of the bag and very long tentacles were creeping down the sides of the bag. It looked like an octopus – but, no way! As I got up close, I could see it was a hanging basket, turned upside down with the hanger inside the yard waste bag. The bottom of the flower basket was sitting atop the yard waste dregs and the “tentacles” were actually the long-dead trailing stems of the plant that were creeping down the sides of the bag. What flowers were left on the vines were all parched and crispy à la the Addams Family’s floral decor.
I kept walking, then glanced down at my pedometer to check the time and my progress since I wasn’t on my regular route. While my head was bent I walked into a big spider web. Frantically, I got the sticky threads off my clothes but could not shake the feeling that its owner was along for the ride. Enough already! Mercifully, a shaft of light, albeit dim, suddenly lit up the sky; I sure was grateful for that measly sunbeam.
At least a half-dozen homes I passed already had their Halloween mojo going on and wild-haired witches on brooms and grinning ghosts greeted me along the way. Several scarecrows stood guard by the front porch stairs and I saw some plastic pumpkins plopped onto a hay bale. I have not yet toggled over to harvest mode so I couldn’t fully appreciate the decorating efforts, but by that last leg of my journey I half-expected to look up and see a large black crow flapping its wings and cawing angrily at me. I was finally ready to high-tail it home after strolling 3¼ miles on a rather coolish, but ghoulish, Monday morn.
Postscript – I did a Google image search and found a photo of the same sea monster that I encountered today. In its prime, it was a 115-foot Sea Dragon inflatable pool toy … cute of course, in its element on a sunny day in the pool or the lake … not so much on a horror-filled trip through the ‘hood.