chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

toy season…

toys by LRKIn addition to his woodcarving, my father made toys. From a furniture manufacturer and the local hardwood lumber yard (if you live in a big enough city, there is a hardwood lumber yard!) he would collect scraps of wood and bring them to his shop, a car-trunkful at a time.

With a minimum of fuss — a drilled eye, a slice of smile, a quick bit of sanding to knock off the splinters — the scraps turned into beings. These, at the rate of a thousand or more a year (mostly around the holidays), he would pile into cartons and deliver to children’s wards in hospitals all over Los Angeles.

He also gave them away to friends and family, often “discovering” that he had one or two tucked into a jacket pocket. At the front door, on Halloween, instead of candy, he let the princesses and goblins choose a toy of their own from a big bowl.

After he was gone, when there would be no more toys, years later, and in another city, I filled a big basket with most of those remaining and gave them away one Halloween. It was surprising to watch the reactions, and poignant to feel myself costumed in his persona. I’ve never really wanted to celebrate Halloween since.

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