Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 11.04.02
Quebec City


Tim -- aka Sheena, Queen of the Jungle -- unmasked

I really miss Halloween.

Not that it's not going to happen. Come tomorrow night the rug rats and ankle biters will all be out there, parading from house to house extorting loot from willing victims.

It's just that I won't be one of them.

Next to Christmas, Halloween is my favorite holiday.

I like to get dressed up in costume. Don't get me wrong, I don't sit around home at nights wearing nylons and a little frock from Simmons. It's not that kind of thing.

But I can't resist the chance to get decked out as something I've never been before or will likely never be.

It started with my Mom. She was terrific at turning out costumes from almost nothing.

Long before Darth Vader ever graced a movie screen, my mother had my younger brother rigged out in an award-winning space suit made entirely out of a pair of old rubber boots, a lamp shade, two pieces of vacuum cleaner hose, and three rolls of tin foil.

Over the years I was at various times Davy Crockett, a pirate, a Ray Bolger knock-off as the straw man, and my personal favorite, Sheena Queen of the Jungle.

Once again, don't get me wrong. It wasn't so much Sheena's fake leopard skin bathing suit or the long, flowing, blonde wig.

I just liked carrying a spear.

As I got older my costumes got more elaborate.

I once won a contest when I went to a costume ball as one of Mary's lost lambs.

It's been suggested that we won because of Mary, but I'd like to think anyone can carry a crook and wear a bonnet.

But it takes real panache to carry off the wooly look.

I've been a clown, a hobo, Groucho Marx, and Bess the Landlord's Daughter -- as I said, let's not go there.

There's something about taking on another persona. It frees you. It lets you do things you probably wouldn't do otherwise and not worry about it afterwards.

When I took on Groucho Marx I was working as a waiter in a brasserie. A customer came in and in the best Groucho manner I ignored him.

Finally he came to the bar and undeterred but obviously puzzled by my costume, asked, "Can I have a draft?"

Well, of course the answer to that, for Groucho, had to be "If you want a draft, go stand by the window."

Unfortunately, before I could assure him it was all a joke, he fled the premises.

But there it is. Halloween is a time of make believe. A chance to be something other than you are. Something other than you'll ever be.

And ain't it fun.