An American Halloween Tale

by Deb Bryan

August 11, 1892 Lizzie Andrew Borden was put on trial for the killing of her parents in Fall River, Massachusetts.  (Now, you knew you could not get away without hearing a Halloween story.)  She was acquitted by a jury but the people of the town never, never, ever forgave her for the murder they believed she committed.

Lizzie Borden was kept from formal employment mostly due to the times she lived in, but she also didn’t have a Want To either.  Her father provided all her necessities along with a comfortable monthly allowance, though Lizzie was 32 years old when he was murdered.  For her thirtieth birthday, she was given a 35 day trip to Europe with several friends and family, along with a fur coat.  Her prominent, wealthy immediate and extended family was well thought of by the people of the town.  Lizzie had money, power, and position.  Money flowed, she ruled the school, and she seriously partied hearty.  So what caldron of unhappiness led to the day of destruction?

In fact, it was an accumulation of things over many years, but in the end it was probably greed. Being nothing new under the sun, it’s just an old, old story played out even today.   So what’s the take away?

“Today’s economic times” gives cause to want of an oh-so-comfy place to be.  Not just for Junior but even for more mature adults.  The federal government has given the Sirens call to everyone who will listen, “Come to Uncle Sam, we’ll take care of you.”  Who doesn’t like free money?  It isn’t even called welfare (for sensitive minds who want to know).  We can stay home, do some gaming, eat often and go to bed late with guilt free living.  CHILL!, for you who are freaking out about banks, school or house payments, health insurance and what the political types are doing.   But Wait! Quiet for a moment; I hear the sound of hacking.  Is anyone asking what the price tag on free is?

Two things I have personally found are Americans don’t play servant well and “he who has the gold, makes the rules” (Tyler Perry).  A hatchet struck Lizzie Borden’s parents heads an accumulation of 29 times; their problems were over, Lizzie’s just begun.  Her problems continued for 35 years.  That is a year for every blow struck with extra for measure.  What did she get away with?  Do we think we are getting away with something?  Whose hand is rocking the cradle; who owns the crib?  Is there a game of greed afoot?  Hey, who is the predator and who is the prey?!

I have another Halloween story for you.  It’s a short story by Edgar Allen Poe, “The Tale of the Tell-Tale Heart.”  The murderer insists he is sane but still, the heart beats under the floorboards.  For seven nights he opened the door quietly to find the man with the vulture eye, the all-seeing-eye, only to find the eye closed.  He could not kill while it slept in innocence.  But on the eighth night the eye was opened and the murderer sprang to kill, all the while hearing the beat, beat, beat of a heart in terror.

We are approaching a seventh year of America’s all-seeing-eye, the power of America, watching, watching, watching.  There’s hesitancy, there’s  uncertainty, there is a lack of details about vision for our future yet to be told.    Who will be there to hear our confession, our guilt, of the murder we might commit IN COLD BLOOD”?

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.


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