Halloween is a few days away. I’ve heard people say we may have snow.

OK, so what.

At one time that was a very real possibility most years in my younger years. I can still remember being excited to dress up as a princess and not being able to wait until Halloween arrived.

As the holiday approached, the days would begin to grow colder. Then a day or so before Halloween, a major snowstorm would arrive dumping a foot or two of snow.

While, as a kid, I still hoped that it wouldn’t make a difference, Mom always insisted we wear coats over our costumes – buttoned-up of course.

So there we were – kids wearing princess, superman or whatever masks along with our snowsuits or winter coats.

But despite that little disappointment, Halloween was still a fun time. Once we were dressed, the snow didn’t matter.

In part, it was the neighborhood where I grew up in Falls Creek that made it such fun. There were just a few houses, but I remember one elderly lady who every year would make caramel apples for all the children. It was awesome.

We’d climb the few steps up onto the large porch and she’d meet us at the door with a tray filled with caramel apples sitting there with their Popsicle sticks. The caramel was soft and the apples crispy. Delicious.

It wasn’t just the trick or treating that made it fun, though.

There was also a parade, a tradition that continues today in many communities. Kids of all ages would gather at the top of Main Street. Parents accompanied the very young while older children and teens congregated in groups as they met up with classmates. (At that time Falls Creek had an elementary school.)

As we waited and tried to guess the identities of any new people arriving late, you could feel the anticipation. We were waiting for the parade to begin its slow march down Main Street. We’d eventually end up at the fire hall to get treats. Those treats were not always candy though. Yes, we had that but we also might find pencils or notebooks or a little dime store toy. No matter what it was we were excited about receiving it.

I’ve looked back on those days and often thought that life seemed so much simpler then. Now that may be because of looking back to childhood memories. Those memories are colored with the thinking of a youngster. Maybe life wasn’t so simple for the adults then either.

Then again, as technology – which I enjoy using and couldn’t live without now – wasn’t as advanced then.

I wonder have we lost that in today’s world. But then I have the chance to work on a project like our Heroes Among Us – Firefighters, which is part of today’s edition. Within its 48 pages, you’ll find stories and photos on tradition, volunteerism, and selfless courage. It focuses on the men and women who answer the call when the fire whistles or sirens sound. They enter burning buildings to save another’s life, face the blistering heat of raging fires even during the coldest day or night.

Our Falls Creek firefighters have arrived at my parents’ home because of a flue fire that thankfully didn’t amount to anything. But firefighters were part of my childhood as well during Halloween and even Christmas when Santa would greet kids at the fire hall.

Were there other groups that were a big part of those community events? Yes, of course, there were. But to us kids, we went to the fire hall for our Halloween and Christmas treats so it is the fire hall that I most associate with those times.

Today, our firefighters go into the schools to talk with students about fire safety or participate in events such as Touch–A–Truck that allows kids to see a fire engine up close.

Enough cannot be said about our firefighters. With this special section we want to send out a big thank you. We take them for granted so often but without our fire departments we could end up like the fire that nearly wiped DuBois off the map in 1888. That story can be found in the Heroes Among Us – Firefighters as well.

So if you see one of your local firefighters today, take a moment to say thank you.

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