Monthly Archives: October 2019

Pumpkins: Supersized, Scary, and Scrumptious

Years before “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” I recall visiting a farm market as a preschooler. Accustomed to our family’s economizing, my brother and I were ecstatic when Daddy hoisted a pumpkin almost as tall as I to his shoulder. We danced around him (endangering Daddy, the pumpkin and us) as he carried it to the farmer to pay.

Fast-forward a couple of decades. Our children repeated the scene as if they’d read the script. Fast-forward a couple more decades, and the grandchildren do the same pumpkin dance.

Some things don’t change, namely, everyone wants a BIG one.

Fortunately for parents, kids don’t know how big they can grow.

When Hubby and I moved last, we inherited a garden with a huge pumpkin we couldn’t budge. Little did we know that compared to the biggest pumpkin ever recorded, ours resembled wussy ones piled in a basket on the dining room table.

All together, now: “How big did it grow?”

According to Guinness World Records, Mathias Willemijns of Belgium grew the biggest pumpkin ever in 2016: 2,624.6 pounds — about as much as a 2019 Honda Fit.

Imagine turning a monster like that into a jack-o’-lantern. Imagine encountering it in your neighborhood at midnight.

Size isn’t the only scary factor in pumpkin carving. Some pumpkin-loving adults also sculpt artistic renditions of famous people like George Washington and Ben Franklin. Don’t you think these bodyless visages would appear creepy, too? Especially when lit by candles on a dark night?

Just sayin’.

Some carvers, unafraid of freaky faces, express what scares them most in pumpkin graffiti: “The WiFi is down.” “Windows 7.” And “Student Loans.”

Thankfully, more pumpkin aficionados demonstrate their creativity through cooking. Sorry, pumpkin-spice opponents, I love those recipes. Once, I even declared that I loved all things pumpkin.

Though still a devotee, I now make exceptions.

Unappreciative of their popularity, pumpkins are fighting back. They have conceived a brilliant solution: expanding to products that cause former fans to gag. These include pumpkin-spice pizza, hummus, garbanzo beans, and kale chips. Not content with turning human stomachs, they have pushed an additional innovation: pumpkin-spice fish bait.

Some pumpkins have grown openly aggressive in their revenge. According to the Pumpkin Nook website (, one Florida grower, Barbara Kincaid — and former friends who helped carry her 200-pounder — suffered a pumpkin explosion. Rotten inside, it swelled from built-up gases. Its detonation coated all with what Ms. Kincaid described as stinky “pumpkin puke.”


Given that danger, will I swear off jack-o’-lanterns? It’s doubful.

Spicy pumpkin bread and muffins? Lattes? Pie?

Sorry, pumpkins. That thought is too scary to contemplate.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do you like all things pumpkin?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: What Are You Doing Here?

O Lord, Your flowers are a mystery. I pamper them — they die. I’ve never, ever planted white petunias — yet they pop up and bloom. In October. On my porch, without a pot! OMG, teach me to welcome beauty into my life, even when it wasn’t invited.  

Oh, well, invited or not, I watered it.


Loser, Weeper — Why Can’t I Be a Keeper?

The list of things I lose keeps growing, as if I am trying to fulfill a quota.

Are you a loser, too?

Unfortunately, I admit to a long history of misplacement. The only time I recall a blowup with my sweet, elderly first grade teacher occurred when I lost my first reader. No problem, I told her. Mom would look for it. After all, what were mothers for? Dick, Jane, and Baby Sally would find their way back to school eventually.

Mrs. Carr did not buy it. “You are responsible for that book. Not your mother.” She even implied that I should look for it!

Oh, well. Everyone has bad days. Even teachers.

If you are of a certain age, you probably recall skate keys — at least, in theory. My neighbor-hood buddies and I probably would not have recognized one if we saw it, we lost them so quickly. Ditto for the skates’ leather straps. We tied skates on with rags and never noticed any difference.

What works for kid transportation, however, does not necessarily apply to adult transportation. Rags exert little kinetic effect on automobiles. As for replacing keys, no one can truck to the hardware store anymore and do it for a few bucks in a few minutes. Instead, the culprit is forced to purchase a pricey mini-computer disguised as a key. Or she must break into her own car. Or hot-wire the engine.

Losing one’s keys — and the above “solutions” — tend to annoy parking lot security personnel.

Their crankiness ups several notches when the car itself vanishes.

“It’s gray,” I told the parking attendants after a 1988 Amy Grant concert.

Tsk, tsk. Maybe they experience even more bad days than first grade teachers.

I have lost more items than I have ever owned. Four umbrellas during my freshman year in college. A leather belt I bought in England. The only hat my husband ever liked, bought in Hawaii, lost in Israel.

I try to think positively. After all, someone is enjoying the use of the umbrellas, the belt, and the hat. I try to impress my husband with my global generosity.

Well, husbands have bad days, too. Especially when I lose my passwords.

Please do not suggest I make a list. I lose lists.

Put reminders on my cell phone? My cell phone?

We won’t even go there.

Unfortunately, every loss morphs into a double loss, as I lose my temper.

But if I have lost it, why doesn’t my temper go away, too?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever lost?