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Pumpkin Head

Not far from our community lies farmland and a farm that allows  kids to ride on a wagon full of hay to travel to a pumpkin patch. Daisy’s class had taken a trip there but Junior wanted to go as a family. Steve and I talked it over and decided to go Saturday afternoon. We would have to pack everyone into my car. As I headed to the driver’s seat, Steve and I both put our hands on the door handle at the same time. I showed him I had the keys and as he reached out to take them from my hand, I closed my fist and told him that I would drive. My car, my right to drive. I told Steve that he could navigate and keep an eye on the backseat and the kids. He quietly went around and got in the passenger seat. As you know, I am not usually this demanding, but I still haven’t been given the opportunity to drive the new car, so Steve gets to mind the kids. I don’t drive the same way as my husband, so I anticipated some back seat driving from the passenger seat. I don’t make excuses for the fact that I drive carefully. I have children in the car. I don’t speed, I watch out for others and I gradually stop at yellow lights if I can.

By the time we reached the farm, Steve had answered the children’s many questions about the length of time it would take to arrive, what we would do there and how many pumpkins we would be able to fit in the trunk. Granted, the trunk is not huge but bigger than Steve’s car. We could get big pumpkins.

The afternoon was fun and the cool air in the open fields made it feel more seasonal. Daisy’s fingers looked a little red and I pulled out a pair of mittens that I had tucked away in my pocket. Junior’s nose was red too but it just made him look cuter. Steve and I walked behind the kids as they marched up and down the rows of pumpkins searching for the perfect pumpkin. Most of the pumpkins had small  spots or marks and looked very real unlike those specimens for sale at the grocery store. Eventually, both children found their perfect pumpkin. I carried Daisy’s and Junior carried his own back to the wagon and we headed back to the barn to get warm cider and cinnamon donuts. We paid for our pumpkins and headed toward the car to go home. Steve excused himself and headed back inside the barn. By the time I had everyone settled in the car with the pumpkins resting comfortably in the trunk, Steve returned with two more pumpkins to carve. I squeezed the pumpkins in with the others; it was a happy fall sight in that trunk.

The next afternoon, I took the newspaper and spread it out on the kitchen table. We rolled up our sleeves and Steve cut the tops off the pumpkins. We reached inside and pulled out the gooey, stringy centers and plopped them on the newspapers. This was disgusting and fun work for the kids and they made lots of dramatic noises as they separated the seedy innards. I pulled out a lot of the seeds and cleaned them to roast on a large sheet pan with lots of salt. Steve and I took large spoons and cleaned out the rest of the pulp and then the kids drew their spooky  faces to show where to cut into the flesh. Steve made the major cuts for Daisy and started Junior’s but they did a great job at refining their designs. Junior’s had giant teeth and Daisy’s had a crooked smile. Steve and I carved ours and I made designs all over mine to let the candlelight shine through. Steve’s looked like a space creature with three eyes. I wasn’t sure he actually planned it that way but sometimes you just have to work with what you have.

That night, we placed the pumpkins on the front porch with the candles lit inside. When it turned dark, we talked outside and stepped back to the sidewalk to admire our work. From start to finish, we had fun with the pumpkins. Choosing and making your own creation gives you pride. Our little collection would provide fun for everyone who passed by our home.

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