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  • Writer's pictureRogene "Jeannie" McPherson, Country Notebook

The Lone Pumpkin

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Country Notebook

By Rogene "Jeannie" McPherson

Halloween is a big deal for some people. I am not one of those. As a child, I remember the Halloween we went into my hometown to get treats from my aunt. When she handed me the candy, I thought she wanted me to take the entire bowl. How embarrassing when I realized she only meant for me to take one piece.

As an adult, we were invited to costume parties and frankly I was usually uncomfortable going. The one most pleasing to my personality was the Raggedy Anne costume I sewed. It’s still in storage in the plastic bins in the basement. After I’m six feet under, I can only imagine the hooting and hollering from my kids. I feel some responsibility to give them laughter after I’m gone.

I read once that more candy is bought at Halloween than Christmas and Easter. True or not, I don’t know, but it is no surprising comment. When we lived in a neighborhood full of young kids, I bought candy for those coming to our door, but one treat per child was plenty just as the example set by my aunt years before. And, if I had needed a costume for Halloween, Raggedy Anne would have to come alive once again even if I had to add fabric to fit into the dress. We can’t kid ourselves. Sugar calories add up over time.

Fall, though, is my favorite holiday. In anticipation of having at least two large pumpkins per grandchild = 14, I watered and pampered the vines all summer. By my calculations, I planted at least twice that number of seeds to insure my expectations. If every blossom had turned into a pumpkin, I could have sold pumpkins on Market Street in Centerville for a month. I think pumpkin blossoms are edible, but I wasn’t taking any chances. Any one of them could have become so big I would have had to hire movers to get them into the city.

In late August, I had two pumpkins setting on with one turning orange quickly but shriveling up almost immediately. A second one was a bit larger but slow to go from green to orange. With a somewhat late frost, the pumpkin did its best, but the contents wouldn’t be enough for a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. Alas, it’s my lone pumpkin.

My theory is that it was just too hot for the blossoms to continue the next step of maturation. There were lots of bees and other flying insects and pollination should not have been a problem. Or maybe the spirit of the pumpkin sensed my dark regard for Halloween and thus refused to cooperate.

No, I don’t believe the pumpkin has a spirit, but I think we still have time to get into the spirit of Thanksgiving using the remaining signs of the fall. I’ve since bought a couple of small pumpkins to place in a child’s antique wagon near the entrance of my driveway. I’ve got a few other ideas like picking up hedge apples to put into an old metal container, provided the frost hasn’t turned them into mush. I might throw in a deer antler once picked up in the forest.

With a lifetime of learning behind me, I am realizing it is not always about reaching the goal, but the anticipation of potential joy. I’m sure my grandkids didn’t lack any pumpkins, probably going to a pumpkin patch in the country and building their own memories of hayrides and hot apple cider. I just wish they had invited me to go along as the Grinch of Halloween.

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