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?
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 (http://www.pumpkinnook.com/commune/stories.htm), 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?