Thanks for the haunting memories

November 9, 1999

The rainy season is officially upon us. We received our first real storm Nov. 7 after a couple of storm wannabes in late October. It was the kind of storm that makes you run for the closet to ask, "Now where did I put that jacket?" Prior to the rain we enjoyed a mostly warm and sunny October, highlighted by a Halloween Night gathering at the Gehlke homestead.

Glenn's parents and siblings visited from Hayward, while Benji's friend James and his family joined us for a night of trick-or-treating and a feast of batwitches, mummy dogs, bloody punch and other thematic concoctions. Roni's niece Christi also took part in the festivities in between researching the Ninth Amendment for a homework assignment.

Benji's Halloween wish was to dress up as Zack, a character from his current favorite TV show, "Dragon Tales." So, Roni ambitiously tackled the job of sewing together a costume that she finished just a couple of days before the big night. He was quite a sight in his green costume with a long scaly tail and hood. So impressive was the outfit that Benji won one of the prizes in the Delta Family YMCA's annual Halloween costume contest Oct. 30 -- a $10 gift certificate to Target.

The trick-or-treating went smoothly, although Benji was disappointed when it came time to say goodnight and everyone departed. Between the excitement of the door-to-door trek and wrestling on the back lawn with Uncle Sean, Ben had had about all the excitement his little five-year-old body could handle.

October finally saw the most serious effort to date to reconstruct the sagging retaining wall that we have mentioned here many times in the past. Glenn succeeded in uprooting about 30 feet of aging wood, including four decaying redwood posts and their 300-pound concrete footings -- a task made easier by a trip to Bonanza Industrial Supply to acquire a 4-pound sledge hammer, which made short work of that old concrete. We have decided to replace to old wall in sections. However, we have yet to determine whether wood or concrete retaining blocks will be used in the new design. We do know that our budget isn't happy with either option, but now that the wood is down and the rain has started we have to act soon.

Roni continues to be involved with the Oakley community. Between writing her weekly column for the Brentwood News and volunteering in Benji's kindergarten classroom, she has also decided to make another run for the Oakley Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Some of you may know that Roni served as the chamber's president for a year and a half in 1993 and 1994. The ballots will be counted after Thanksgiving, so we'll see if she makes her return to the chamber board.

Glenn is awaiting his date in the dentist's chair to fix that broken molar he received in early October. Good thing he isn't in severe pain as the good doc made him wait until the end of November. Just letting the anticipation grow.

As always, we are happily involved in our railroading hobbies at the Gehlke home. On Oct. 23 we attended the open house of the Black Diamond Lines model railroad club in Antioch with Benji's friend James and his dad and grandpa. In November we will make our annual trek to Roseville for the International Railfair, and to Pleasanton for the Great American Train Show. Glenn is busy planning an extension to the garden railway and a new HO layout for under the Christmas tree next month. So it looks as though our holidays will be train-filled.

Hope your Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season are pleasant. We'll see you next month.

Glenn, Roni and Benji

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