altBrrr! It’s gotten cold in Northwest Arkansas. Halloween night was one of the coldest, and craziest, in the history of our family residing in Fayetteville.

I’m starting to feel the effects of schedules for four children and a busy husband pulling our family in all different directions.

My husband loves to bird hunt. I believe pheasant hunting is one of his favorite pastimes. As with any kind of hunting, it has a season. He recently packed up with our 10-year-old son to a South Dakota cattle ranch to enjoy a few days away from the office to bird hunt. Our son had been pheasant hunting before, but the idea of a road trip with his dad and the guys was something magical.

The hunting trip timing collided with Halloween, the last home junior high football game and a whole bunch of other activities – I’ll spare you the details. Our 10-year-old hated the idea of missing out on wearing his very official-looking police officer costume. He had to make a choice between heading out on Oct. 31 with his dad and the hunters or staying behind to trick-or-treat. I hate missing out on anything, so I understood his anguish.

Thankfully we live in the country and we quite possibly have the best neighbors around. I sent a message to a handful of our neighbors asking if the kids could come by the night before Halloween to trick-or-treat. As with most rural homes across America, we don’t really get a lot of trick-or-treaters in the country. Our neighbors were so kind to oblige. One even invited the kids out to trunk-or-treat in a couple church parking lots before Halloween – the kids thought that was so much fun. On the night before Halloween, three out of our four kids got dolled up in their costumes – rainbow elf, police officer and ghost – and set out to trick-or-treat in our “neighborhood.”

It had been a while since I’d seen some of my neighbors. With a business in town and four busy kids, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for much needed visiting. On every stop we had a chance to pet everyone’s dogs and catch up. Such a blessing.

On Halloween morning, our 10-year-old was very concerned if his dad picked him up at school he wouldn’t have a chance to hug me goodbye. I explained that we’d hug goodbye at morning drop off and I’d see him when he got back from his trip. By the afternoon, our sweet boy convinced his dad to run by my office for one more hug before they left town. Precious.

Between dance practice, the last home football game and a stop at Chick-Fil-A, the rest of the kids were able to dress up and enjoy a little bit of trick-or-treating on Halloween night too. Thankfully we have an amazing babysitter who is always available to help wrangle kids around our crazy schedule. Bless her.

I share this story because in the rat race that was October 2019, I want to pause and take time to count my blessings this November. I’m so thankful to live in such a beautiful place in the world. I’m very thankful for the kindness of neighbors and the thoughtfulness of so many people my family encounters all year round.

Happy Thanksgiving, neighbor.

Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to and click on ‘Contact Us.’


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