(I got mentioned over at Stuff Christians Like today…to find out why, read on)
I grew up in Southeastern MA, as many of you know, and I attended a small little reformed church in Dartmouth, MA called The First Christian Church of Hixville for a good 10 years or so (that’s the actual church pictured on the right). Like any church you’ve ever attended, there’s lots of stuff I could pick on and disagree with about the church. Today’s not the day for that though.
There’s a few things I still love about Hixville. I love many of the people I came to know there. In fact, many of them remain strong influences in my life. I also love the memories that I have. Playing football on the lawn after church, walking to the corner store to buy jolly ranchers after Sunday school despite being told not to, putting kielbasa and dish soap into someone’s coffee cup as a prank, and then realizing it was the wrong cup (sorry Mrs. Gamble!). I could go on and on until the second coming, but I won’t.
Anyway, since today is Halloween, I just HAVE to mention HATCH Night. It was a tradition at Hixville for a handful of years. As kids, instead of trick-or-treating we got HATCH night. You might be wondering why it was called HATCH Night? Well, it’s an acronym of course, and it stood for:
Hixville’s Alternative To Carnal Halloween.
Brilliant. Absolutely Brilliant. Not sure who came up with it, though I think it was one of our elders, Rick. He had all sorts of cleverness in that brain of his (still does, I’m sure). (Ed. Note: My dad said it was our pastor Ken who came up with it. Like Rick, he was pretty clever too.)
HATCH night wasn’t all bad for us kids. We still came home with a bunch of candy. The worst part of it all was explaining to your friends that a) we don’t go trick or treating because it makes the devil happy, b) we go to church instead, and c) I’m dressing up like an old man from the Bible for the 3rd year in a row. (Only biblical costumes allowed at HATCH Night of course.)
I was exchanging emails with my friend Luke yesterday, and we got to talking about HATCH Night since he also grew up at Hixville. The more I thought about HATCH Night, the more I marveled at its brilliance. So on a whim, I shot an email over to my friend Jon who runs the amazingly funny (and wildly popular) Stuff Christians Like blog because I thought he’d get a kick out of it too. He was so amazed by the HATCH Night concept that he included it in his Halloween post today.
I feel so honored. I hope Rick does too (and/or Ken). And for that matter, everyone else who was a part of HATCH Night through the years! Hixville Represent!
(if any of you old Hixville folks read this, I ask, nay, I demand you leave a comment with your favorite HATCH Night memory)