Since being blessed with two beautiful grandchildren a tradition has taken hold and continues every year about this time. We pick a Saturday or Sunday to go out back and harvest the pumpkins. The only problem this year is the lack of pumpkins. I've only found seven and that just won't work. So this week my son and I went on a search for pumpkins. With roadside stands-commercial businesses and Amish farms, pumpkins are not hard to find. We chose to ride down a back road and find an Amish farm. And we found the perfect Amish farm. So perfect that I went back a few more times. They know me now. They wave Hi as I pull up in front of their sprawling mass of beautiful pumpkins. Of course having little Amish children running around barefoot adds to the backdrop.
Soon we will be going out back to "pick" pumpkins. Little will those grandchildren know that most of those pumpkins are imports. All they will see will be a mass of orange ready to be touched and patted and brought home in wait of Halloween. I think as parents or grandparents we've all had to "help" things along or do something to make a moment easier while never confessing to anyone.
I remember back when one of my daughter's had a baby rabbit. She was quite young. She loved that rabbit. Played with that little rabbit all the time. She'd carry it around like a kitten. She'd talk to it-even read the rabbit stories. One day I found the rabbit in its cage. It had died over night. While I realized it could have been one of those 'teaching' moments, it was one I was not ready to teach-not then anyway. So I ran to the farm where we bought the rabbit. Luckily, they had one that looked just like the little one we'd lost-same size, same coloring. I brought it home and put it in the cage-praying the little rabbit had the same disposition as the other little rabbit. It turned out that rabbit had it all. My daughter never realized the difference and they were best of friends for years. Since then, my daughter has had more than a few of those teaching moments I avoided when the little rabbit passed away. Those moments are part of living. We all have them.
I'm also reminded of the time when I was trying to make a homemade gingerbread house with all the trimmings one evening close to Christmas. The kids were little and they were "helping." For some reason nothing was working. The walls kept caving in. I think it was because the icing I made didn't have the right consistency. Or maybe it was because they'd cry and moan uncontrollaby whenever a wall fell in, sending sprinkles and hard candy all over the place. I decided to get them to bed. I told them I would work on it. And I did. Once they were asleep I got in the car and went to the grocery. I bought a kit with a 'prefab' gingerbread house. I brought it home. I put those beautiful prefabricated walls up-glued them with icing included in the kit and adhered some of their candy in place. The kids were thrilled in the morning. That evening we finished our project. Not one scream or moan. Just lots of laughs and happy memories!
So very soon pumpkins will be discovered with delight. Then we will come inside for some of my 'Witch's Brew'-a homemade soup that has become part of this tradition. It will be the same tradition even though most of the pumpkins about to be 'planted' outback are immigrants from a farm not too far away. That won't matter. They'll never know. Years from now when they too are adults-maybe with their own children-I may tell them. And maybe by then they will have had to help along a gingerbread house or go in search of pumpkins. That's when they will understand.