River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere

November 2001

The US becomes pumpkinized

The mornings are a little cooler now, but by afternoon the sun laughs and teases us with temperatures reaching 75-80F. The evenings start to pull in.

Homeowners wonder how many more times they will have to cut the grass and when they will start raking leaves. Flowers that struggled to bloom in the long hot summer now graciously nod their heads. Most gardens will have at least one chrysanthemum showing off her autumn coat. Dainty pansies will hug the ground and smile shyly as we pass.

Above us, on telephone wires, birds sit patiently, awaiting friends and family, before they continue their long journey south.

Joggers and walkers, out for their daily exercise, have exchanged shorts and tops for sweat suits.

Soon air-conditioners will be turned off and central heating systems will take over. Radio and television advertisers will urge us to winterize our homes. They remind us how quickly the weather changes in Oklahoma.

The Great Pumpkin Invasion has begun. Thousands of them, small, medium, large and giant-sized ones are piled up in Pumpkin Patches. Church groups vie for our dollars. They can't compete with supermarket prices, but their profits go to missions abroad or are used for charitable works close at hand. Games and entertainment entice us. Baked goods, as well as recipes for the soups, cookies, breads and pies are offered. We succumb.

Excited children beg to take pumpkins home. Not to eat but to transform into Jack o' Lanterns. Families will gather around to create unique masterpieces by intricate carvings or by carefully applying brightly coloured paints. These Jack o' Lanterns are not intended to scare away evil spirits but will coax little ones to stop by for Tricks or Treats, on Halloween. They talk about their costumes for weeks. We will admire them and fill up goody-bags. Parents will be close at hand, cold and tired, but ever watchful. Candy will be plentiful. Hot cider and mugs of hot chocolate will be welcomed.

Most of the children do not know, think or even care about the origins of this holiday. Schools try not to acknowledge it, but pumpkins, scarecrows, black cats, a skeleton or two, and black pointed hats, somehow, appear around corners and on windows.

Meanwhile, adults will try to ignore the Christmas decorations and gifts already in the stores as they look forward to November and Thanksgiving.

Brenda Moe

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