Halloween 2014

I hate halloween!

Actually, in Cairo at least, it's the Halloween Eve that I actually despise...

...aka Trick or Treat night.

As school personnel and as an interracial couple before it became all that common...

...we were the targets of more than a few tricks on the annual "festivity".

With that...

...along with my previous account of an ill-fated Trick or Treat night, I shall relinquish the stage to Rachel Jones who "celebrates" the end of October days with a trip down memory lane:


Rachel Jones

October 31 at 10:25am

I'm declaring today "Throwback Friday," mostly because I was too crazed yesterday to think about throwing anything back but shots--which I didn't get to do, sadly. I'm still too crazed today, waiting for a script from Abyei, but I had to officially commemorate the End of October because it's Halloween and the side zipper on my top busted the minute I walked into the office this morning, and I was thinking, "How do I EVER survive Octobers ANYWAY?"

On the one hand, it's my birthday month, which I don't have a problem with. Truly I don't. I'm not one of these women who dreads getting older; I'm actually looking forward to being the coolest 60 year old woman who ever lived. But October is also the month I'm reminded of the greatest loss of my life so far...that of my Sister/Mother/Road Dawg/Partner in Crime/Best Friend Julie Newell.

I was so busy getting ready to take over as lead editor in the new VOA gig on October 19th that I almost...ALMOST...forgot it was 7 years since she died. And I've been thinking a lot about 7 being the biblical number of completion lately, since it's been 7 years since I touched down in East Africa for the first time. As I embrace this new professional chapter, I'm also reminded of how absolutely, stubbornly persistent my resentment of Julie not being here remains, 7 years later. It's easier to look at pictures now, and to remember the laughter and the good times, but DAMN if it doesn't still hurt my feelings just as much today as it did on Oct. 19th, 2007!

The good news is that pictures like these remind me that when you love somebody that hard, and fortunately for that long, relatively speaking, it means something. I had 46 years with Julie Ann Marie Jones Newell, which is nothing to sneeze at. And when I remember the tom-foolery we got into on the two cruises in these pictures from 2002 and 2003, the pain eases just a bit. I'll NEVER forget how hysterical we got one night after a crazy thrill ride in the ship's casino, when Julie hit a big jackpot and lost it all again within less than an hour. We dragged our sorry asses back to the cabin, and after the daze dissipated Julie turned to me and said,

"Ronnie (aka Ron Newell) is gonna beat my butt. What is we gwine DO???" We laughed til we choked for about two hours afterwards, and throughout the rest of the cruise, whenever there was a lull in the conversation we looked at each other and said, "What is we gwine DO??"

I still say that when life kicks my butt, in good ways and bad. Fortunately, October 2014 has contained mostly good, challenging, inspiring stuff. I was even able to hide the busted side zipper til I got to Mr. Shah's batik and kikoy shop to find a new blouse, and I actually look quite smashing in it! So as I bid adieu to another Ominous October, I can think of the Archangel Julie and realize that she has never really left my side. In fact, I really don't think I believed in Guardian Angels until she died. But looking back over these 7 years, I would have been serious toast without her.


Julie never told me of her wining/losing adventure in the ship's casino...

...so it never came to pass that that I "beat (her) butt."

In reality, both Julie and Rachel knew that there was not way in hell that was going to happen...

...because if I had ever tried, Julie Ann Marie Jones Newell would have kicked my ass!



...if Julie had mentioned her misadventure at the slots, and...

...if "Ronnie" had expressed any displeasure at her folly...

...rest assured that Julie would have reminded him of another night in "at the boat" in Metropolis:

Bears repeating:

That picture was no joke!

And, although there is no picture to prove it (there is an income tax form), Julie won another $5,000 pot at the Gold Strike casino in Tunica, MS.

My Jule was a winner...

...in every sense of the world!