IMG_3145The last month or so has really taken its toll, a toll I asked for, completely.

I volunteered to have a haunted trail on our property to help promote our local community theater (and satiate my constant need for Halloween shenanigans).  Was everyone on the board, on board…?  – Probably not.  But they indulged me, realizing quickly that when I’ve set out to do something, you better get in or get out of the way!  I mean well after all… really, I do.

Did the troops come out enforce?  Not at first.  I had the tried-and-true support of a few amazing women in my theater group, but they had families, full time jobs and had blessed me with as much time (or more) than was already humanly possible.

I often found myself sitting alone in the forest swinging hammers, smashing thumbs, and cursing at the sky wondering what the hell I could have been thinking…  and then, adding insult to injury, my ankle decided to give out.

I’d been stacking pallets, painting walls, pulling up carpet, hauling garbage and moving furniture while shopping, building, costuming, organizing volunteers and marketing the trail.  I knew my ankle hurt but ignored the crap out of it… for a week, or two, or three…

Finally, having given birth naturally and comparing the pain, I realized it was time to hit the ER.  True to form, I read a play in the waiting room to pass the time.

I sent my crew a message letting them know that I had finally pushed myself further than my body could go.  I was at the end of my rope, might have to cancel the trail and finally throw in the proverbial bloody towel.

The Doc came in and checked me out.  I was x-rayed.  NO BREAK!!! I was so happy I did a little dance, finding myself immediately discouraged by the very sweet doctor, sitting patiently in front of me, waiting to advise me, YET AGAIN, to try and ‘take it easy’.

By the time I got home with my air cast, podiatrist referral and anti-inflammatories my co-workers husband was standing in my living room.

“Kel said you might be giving up.” Tim poked.

“I just can’t make this trail be what it deserves to be at this point.” I replied, exhausted, elated and just plain over it by then.

“Well, Kel read your message, looked up at me and said – Jule can’t quit.  Jule NEVER quits.”

Such a simple statement – so simple it smacked me straight across my face.

“So we’re here for you.” Tim said.  “We gotta crew.  Come show me what you need.”

And I did, and they did, and it was… amazing.

A rag tag crew of lovable misfits, teens, theater folk, Rich Coasters and the just plain crazies knocked out a month’s worth of construction in 7 hours flat.

I watched in awe as I gimped around, grinning away, watching these people, mostly friends of friends (though forever my friends now) grant me the ability to put my money where my mouth was.  These are people I will remember for the rest of my life.

Not only did they build it but also, they came.  They brought friends to help haunt the trail.  They brought people to walk the trail.  My kid’s bus driver had her whole family there, running the door, donating costumes and zombieing up for the night.  Just saying I was overwhelmed is a gross understatement.

I learned many things this Halloween.  I learned that I still adore this season and will continue to embrace all the odd and quirky folk that love it too.  I learned that you never know who might save the day but also realize that sometimes it’s exactly who you’d expect it to be.

I have a million stories to tell about the weekend we all haunted.  I banked a million memories, smiles, screams and heartfelt giggles that spilled out over a group of people I will forever be grateful for knowing.

I got more out of this Halloween than any Halloween before.  To me this felt more like Christmas.  Christmas because I was blessed with the camaraderie, support and joy of total strangers, incredible family and unforgettable friends, something NO holiday should ever be without!