Harry Potter, of course, was the defending champion. Han Solo nearly beat all the odds. But in the end, the winner of Missy’s annual Halloween costume sweepstakes was a Shire thing.
Yes, after two years of trick-or-treating as the world’s favorite boy wizard, our disabled ward has decided it’s time to pick up a bag and put on the Baggins. She’ll be going door-to-door as a hobbit, a choice that required some careful questioning since Missy is a lady of strong opinions but few words.
Mind you, there will be some key differences, and not just the usual concessions to the Colorado weather. (I know those well, having had to throw a coat on over a perfectly good Hercules costume when I was in sixth grade.) This, after all, will be a Missy-style hobbit, which among other things will mean:
- That wearing anything that looks like hairy feet is out of the question. There will be shoes and they will have bling, with sparkly shoelaces that can be seen from Omaha.
- That like Frodo by the end of The Lord of the Rings, Missy will not be wearing a sword. Not because of any virtuous commitment to refuse all weaponry, but because belts are hated with a passion usually reserved for Orcs.
- That the One Ring will be offered up to everybody so they can see how shiny it is, only to be snatched back in a “gotcha” move when they get too close. Eventually, the fated Ring of Power will likely find its way to the bottom of Missy’s voluminous purse, where even the most determined of Nazgul would eventually surrender the search amidst a mountain of stuffed animals, toy cars, used tissues and wadded-up church bulletins.
But these are mere details, easily overlooked in the quest for One Trick-or-Treat Bag to Rule Them All. Like Harry, this is a character from one of Missy’s favorite stories of all time. So giggles are coming, and smiles, and at least three attempts to hit the Halloween trail before it’s even noon.
And really, it’s understandable. Few characters could fit Missy better.
Like any respectable hobbit, she’s a homebody who likes a comfortable routine with tea, food, and pocket-handkerchiefs close at hand.
Like any less-respectable member of the Took family, she’s curious about newcomers and the outside world, sometimes pulling hard at my wrist or Heather’s so she can look at something more closely or call out a “Hey, you!” to a passerby.
She’s a hardworking Sam who likes to help with the washing-up (even if we do have to watch for dirty dishes that quietly slip back into the cupboard) and an impulsive Pippin who just has to find out what happens if you touch this or pick up that.
But most importantly, like any hobbit, there’s much more to Missy than meets the eye.
In Tolkien’s stories, the diminutive hobbits are a quiet people with hidden reserves of courage, luck, and determination. Missy, too, is quiet – but heaven help the person who thinks she doesn’t understand what’s going on around her. She remembers faces from elementary school days, follows bedtime stories closely, has a better sense of direction than I do (especially when it comes to the bowling alley and the bookstore), and definitely knows when she’s being talked down to.
Disabled does not mean unaware.
Thinking back, maybe that’s part of why Tolkien’s stories still hold such an appeal. They celebrate those who are quiet and ordinary, while promising that there’s so much more to see behind the scenes. They suggest that in the right circumstances, any one of us might have surprises to reveal and be able to hold their head up with heroes. That simple does not mean stupid or powerless.
How do you beat a storyline like that?
Well, besides adding brilliant purple shoelaces, of course.