October 31, 2007


Happy Halloween! It's All Hallow's Eve, the night before All Saints Day. Traditions developed to celebrate this Eve came from older Pagan traditions and old Irish Gaelic Festivals. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops. Maybe it's the night all Hell breaks loose. Or it's just a good excuse to dress up and collect candy!

We missed the annual Hill Country Halloweeneirs' Night Out this year, traditionally hosted by the Peters. And although I lobbied hard, Aaron vetoed a dog dress-up party. So our evening will be fairly tame, spent as usual with our dogs (not in costume) whom we lovingly call, Our Best Girl and Hell on Wheels.

Hell on Wheels

What It Means: refers to a really bad situation, place or event; used to label incredible skill as well as extremely rapid movement

Where I Heard It: "Uh Oh. Here comes Hell on Wheels!"
- A. Bussey

Why We Say It: Western lore has it that as the American transcontinental railroad was started in 1860, the railroad laborers were followed westward by fellows determined to separate them from their hard earned money.

Many long stretches along the rail line didn't have a single outpost; but that didn't stop canny operators from the East. They rented flatcars and used them to haul tiny brothels, saloons, dance halls and gambling houses. Pushed to the railhead, or halted anywhere else that potential customers could be found, one might believe that all of man's sins compiled at one of these makeshift rigs literally constituted hell on wheels. Spreading slowly back to civilization, the vivid expression proved just right to label any awful place or event.

Today the meaning has expanded and has become complimentary--used to label incredible skill as well as extremely rapid movement, whether on a basketball court or by a crazy bird dog.

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