The weather this week has been absolutely gorgeous. Brilliant blue skies peppered with puffy clouds and moderate temperatures just make a person want to play hooky from work and go hike through the woods or something.
The cooler evenings make me think about fire pits, hot apple cider and haunted house tours. I look forward to the leaves changing colors, the bittersweet blooming and mosquitos expiring.
Our son Sparky has been observing the season changes with a keen eye. He is very enthusiastic about the upcoming Pumpkin Show, Halloween and all things creepy and spooky. Recently, I gave him a skull-themed novelty door knocker.
When you lift the knocker part, a ghoul-like voice a la Vincent Price cackles, “no-body here, ahhaha.” Sparky loves this thing. He repeatedly set off the voice until buyer’s regret had firmly set in for me. He has been begging to have it installed on his bedroom door, but so far, I have been able to hold firm with keeping it on the back door.
We recently took a quick trip to pick up a case of concord grapes the Hubs had ordered. It’s an annual event, he orders a half bushel of grapes, stuffs himself silly with the things, makes himself sick with them, swears he won’t ever do it again and then he repeats the same steps the following year. It’s almost become an annual tradition.
On the drive to pick up his produce, we passed a tent selling pumpkins, corn shocks and melons. We stopped to allow Sparky to pick out a pumpkin of his own. As soon as he tumbled out of the car, he made a beeline for a brilliant orange one the approximate size of Plymouth Rock. It took a bit, but we finally convinced him it would not fit into the car and maybe he would like to go select one from the field? While the farmer was disappointed with losing a sale, Sparky was beyond thrilled with the idea of getting the perfect pumpkin.
We grabbed the wagon and a tree lopper and set off into the 15-acre field to search out “his” pumpkin. He was beaming with joy, excitedly exclaiming over each of the 20,000 pumpkins on the property — repeatedly. Sparky’s criteria are apparently any pumpkin too big for him to wrap his arms around. Color was not an issue, nor shape, heck, even condition considering the half rotten one he initially selected.
We looked at orange-splattered pumpkins, slightly flattened green ones, even ones which look like they were covered in peanut shells, all were dismissed as not good enough. We eventually settled on two large orange ones, one perfectly round and another sort of tall and narrow.
We nipped the vines off and wrestled them into the cart to haul back to the car. All the way home, he chattered about carving “jacks-lanterns,” between mourning our failure to own a front loader so we could have brought home the “good” pumpkin.
Currently, his prizes are residing on the front steps, still uncarved at this point. We had finally convinced him that carving them now would leave him with a pile of rotting “pumpkin poop” by the time Halloween rolls around. He is now suggesting that maybe we could purchase one “big enough to sit inside” at the Pumpkin Show.
I blame the illustrations in one of his children’s books which showed a couple of adventurers setting sail in a pumpkin shell for this idea. He talks about his beloved pumpkin vine, which expired this summer for some reason (probably from his mom’s brown gardening thumb of death), plotting his ideas for growing a giant one next summer, which he plans on naming “Carson” for some unknown reason.
As the Pumpkin Show creeps closer, I know one little boy who will embrace the event with all the enthusiasm event coordinators could hope for, and then some. I just hope he doesn’t figure out some way to entice someone to deliver all the leftover fruit to our front yard the morning after.
He is a resourceful 4-year-old and is probably capable of charming someone into it. Because for him, there is no place which would make him happier than living in the middle of a pumpkin field.
Written and submitted by Sarah Roush for The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.