Tag Archives: vortex tunnel

The Addams Family… Reincarnated?

I was doing a little reading up on The Addams Family – that iconic, bizarre television family from the 1960s (’cause I’ve got nothing better to do…), and I came across a source that called the Addams Family a “satirical inversion of the ideal American family; an eccentric, wealthy clan who delight in the macabre and are unaware that people find them bizarre or frightening.” And then it hit me… we must be distant relatives of the fictitious Addams Family (ignoring the “wealthy” part…)!

First televised in the 1960s (although it started as a cartoon in the the New Yorker in 1938), The Addams Family has had numerous iterations, including a live Broadway musical, and has struck a chord with much of the American population. Perhaps the most endearing aspect of the show is that, despite the gruesome, dark, bizarre likes and dislikes the family embraces, the family is a solid, tight-knit, caring, and generous one.

Much like the Addams Family, our family embraces Catherine’s Halloween creepiness with love and devotion. Our dad, for example has been working tirelessly on bringing Catherine’s Vortex tunnel dream to reality. I have no doubt that my father’s endless energy he has poured into helping her find the perfect rebar sizes, locating and ordering the requisite 28 foot 2x4s, and figuring out exactly how to make it easy for guests to enter and exit the spinning tunnel without creating a catastrophe isn’t necessarily because he’s fascinated with Vortex tunnels. It’s because he loves Catherine.Vortex

Likewise, our mom has spent countless hours helping my sister create the most realistic, incredible shipwrecked pirates scampering off the gangplank of a near-life-sized ship with their pirates’ booty in tow. All done out of love.pirate

But my very favorite Addams Family-Morticia-Pugsley moment happened last week. A major part of creating the perfect, old, broken down, dilapidated Macabre Inn scene is all of the dead branches and bushes she finds throughout the washes and fields in the area. She brings in the lifeless scrub, and meticulously arranges it all around to create the ideal “dead” look.

Catherine came home after a day of running to Home Depot (a dozen times, or so), Spirit Halloween, her storage units, and a few other places to help her perfect the Macabre Inn environment, only to find the most absolutely perfect, brittle, decaying, ten foot branch lying lifeless in her driveway. She assumed my mom found it for her. Nope. Then she actually for a minute thought her husband brought it home for her. Ha! (Not a chance!). When she was all out of ideas about how the perfect piece landed in her figurative lap, her 11 year old son walked around the corner with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on his face and asked her, “Did you see what I brought for you?”branch

Apparently, he saw it when he got off the bus and dragged it more than two blocks home to his mother’s Macabre Inn creation. He wasn’t even deterred when the cute girl from down the street who takes the same bus home questioned him. He simply replied to her with that Addams Family twinkle in his eye, “Don’t ask.” Yeah… that’s probably best.

Now that’s real love! And it still brings a tear to my eye.

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Fear. A four letter word. And not just at Halloween…

Last night I was chatting with my sister and she said, “I hate being scared, but I love scaring others.” She was, of course, talking about Halloween. It made me laugh – Catherine reminiscing about how much she hated being scared as a child at Halloween time, but how now she revels in the idea of scaring other people through her gifted – if not a bit troubling –  Halloween, fear-eliciting, creative talents.

Then it dawned on me… her statement rings true for things far beyond Halloween. Fear is an interesting thing. Fear of failure. Fear of success (I’ve gotta be honest – I’m not entirely sure about the whole “fear of success” idea… what does that really even mean?). Fear of the unknown. All kinds of phobia fears – heights, the dark, spiders, clowns…

I personally fear that I will not accomplish enough in my life before I die. (Years of being told how much unfulfilled potential I have might have contributed to my fear… 😉 ). I know that my fear might seem ridiculous to some, while others will understand why I carry it with me. But that’s the whole thing about fear – it’s often irrational, and has no basis in fact. It just is.

And that is why I understand Catherine’s need to work non-stop making every inch of the Macabre Inn perfect. She lives, breathes, sleeps, and dreams Halloween. She is driven by that four letter word – fear. Fear that Halloween will sneak up on her and rob her of the precious time she needs to make everything perfect. Fear that she’ll open the doors for the official Halloween event and only a handful of people will trickle in. Fear that if people do show up, the sound system designed to cloak everyone in haunting, creepy, blood-curdling sounds won’t work. Or that the 12 foot clown on stilts will suddenly collapse, or the vortex tunnel will spring from its hinges and end up barrelling into the cactus-filled wash, taking a few visitors with it (okay, that one’s actually my fear, not hers…).

To those of us watching her, all of her fears seem unfounded. Her creation is nothing short of spectacular. Tons of people will come, and all will be amazed at her talent, creativity, and her far-reaching imagination. But she works endlessly to ensure her fears will not materialize. And that’s what separates Catherine from the rest. Many are paralyzed by fear, while others are driven by it.

The great Arthur Ashe summed it up perfectly when he said:

Fear isn’t an excuse to come to a standstill. It’s the impetus to step up and strike.

And 83 days from now Catherine can release her fears and enjoy seeing the fear she elicits in each and every unsuspecting guest of the Macabre Inn. 

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