This past Sunday my family partook of one of the most popular American holiday pasttimes…braving the pumpkin patch. Sure, this tradition centers on picking out pumpkins to be carved and/or decorated, providing beautiful backdrops for family pictures and offering a wholesome community experience but it also pays tribute to other, slightly less picturesque traits. The kind people don’t want to talk about. The kind that are on the hush-hush list. And me, being ever truthful am happy to divulge this information.
I’ll start with 1) paying exorbitant pumpkin prices for the experience of trudging out into vine-slicked fields adorned with rotting gourd carcasses, 2) constantly picking up tripping children while risking the ruination of those adorably cute but horrendously uncomfortable polka-dot rainboots, 3) starring in unflattering outdoor pictures (see below) despite numerous “don’t you take that picture” looks at the photographer and 4) being the unwilling party to the infinite breakdowns of various toddlers who should be at home taking naps and whose parents should be at home drinking large quantities of Riesling.
But, all that being said, we make the same trip every year in a desperate attempt at tradition and, well, because the kids like it so much. This year was no exception.
Once we reached our local pumpkin growers, we boarded the rickety old steps of a trailer being pulled by what at first glance appeared to be a tractor from World War 2, and headed down the windy path to find the pumpkin of our dreams.
The tractor drove us through the farm and unloaded us right in front of a field o’ pumpkins. Avery looked on excitedly, doing a little mental planning to determine the best route for finding the holy grail of Jack o’ Lanterns.
Jack, well, he had questions.
“Are these all the punkins?” he asked, looking around him at literallyhundreds of pumpkins.
“These are it, buddy,” I answered. When did this kid get such a discerning eye for quality winter squash?
“I don’t wike these kind,” he said.
“Why? They’re just your standard pumpkin, Jack.”
“I want an awive one. These are dead,” he explained.
“Jackie, they’re not dead. They’re just not attached to any vines. So we can take ’em home with us,” I said.
“Humph,” he answered, looking around. “They wook dead to me.”
Attempting to avoid a rapidly approaching bulging neck vein, I checked in with Avery, who in true perfect first child fashion had already located and claimed her pumpkin, with nary a complaint about them being dead. I love this girl.
“Nice pumpkin, Ave,” I said.
“Thanks! I think it’s the most perfect one here!” she answered with a big smile on her beautiful little face.
“I think you’re right! Any issues with it being dead?” I asked.
“Huh?” she responds.
“Exactly,” I said, shaking my head.
I looked back over at Jack who was still very unsatisfied.
“So, what do you think?” I asked.
“Um, these are all too big. I can’t even carry ’em,” he answered.
I looked around me, and had to admit he was right. There were no Jack-sized pumpkins in sight and I knew he’d been wanting a small one for weeks now. I remembered seeing a bin full of the pint-sized gourds at the weigh station where we loaded the trailer.
“Hey, Jack? They have some back at the place where we got on the trailer. Do you want to pick one out up there?”
“Hmmm…that sounds like a great idea!” he answered, excitement playing across his sweet-yet-so-frustrating face.
So back on the trailer we went, each with our own perfect pumpkin and Jack patiently awaiting his. Once we got back to the stand he rushed over to the pumpkin bin, coincidentally looking much like the one at Walmart I had steered him away from last week, the one priced at approximately half of the farm stand price. Lovely.
Eureka! The perfect Jack-sized pumpkin. We were all able to go home feeling satisfied with both our pumpkin picks and our choice to support our local farmers. And tonight, we carve. I have a sneaking suspicion that Jack will liken this part of the tradition to a brutal torture of his new best friend. Wish us luck.
Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points says
I abandoned Pumpkin Patches when getting a pumpkin for each of us required refinancing the house.
But the kids always had a great time!
“Required refinancing the house” … this about made me spit my coffee out. 🙂
I’m trying to be sad that my kids are past Pumpkin Patch age but this post isn’t helping. 😉
Jer and I were just talking about this the other day. I said, “What are we going to do when we don’t have a little kid around here?” He said, “Breathe easier?” 🙂
Destanee was the one this year that asked if we were going to the pumpkin patch, I told her that I thought since she doesn’t live at home and is “21” that she was on her own. I think she almost cried! She did post a pic on FB of her pumpkin, so she must have gotten over it!!! I wonder if Hunter is going to ask?? I hope not! hehe!!
Yep…the pumpkin patch is a love/hate kind of thing. And Destanee will ALWAYS be a little girl at heart. That’s what’s so freakin’ adorable about her. 🙂
In response to your comment: You married for love the first time around…if you should ever have to remarry, always remember it’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man, as a boy who owns one quarter of a farm that is still being paid off…Not that I am speaking from poor farm boy experience or anything…Not that I’ve resigned myself to inheriting farm debt…Or any such nonsense as that…
And, our local pumpkin patch charges $7/person just to WALK IN and you get one free (read here: ugly) pumpkin with it…Or you can fork out big bucks for a lovely pumpkin. Of course they have a corn maze and other such fun stuff…But really $7? Just to walk in and look at the pumpkins? What a racket.
We have a few local pumpkin patches around here and we chose the free one. Naturally. 🙂
I hope Jack and Avery are trick or treating and you are gonna blog the whole event. I want to hear what Jack has to say about all of it.
I dont know why the heck they cost so much. It is racket.
Oh, we’re definitely trick-or-treating this year. And I’m a little worried about what kinds of comments Jack will be throwing at the unsuspecting candy givers. Lord help us. 🙂
The Lumberjack's Wife says
Hooray for pumpkin patches! Looks like you had some lovely weather!
Yep, we had a beautiful day! The rain came in approximately 35 seconds after we got home. 🙂
I don’t think Jack will mind hsi pumpkin bein “dead” when it comes time to carve it out! Post pics when it’s done! Avery looked delighted with her find!
He LOVED his dead pumpkin after everything was nice and carved. Pics to come. 🙂
Whaddya talk, I think that you looked great!! Avery’s picture turned out so well, too!!
Ahhh…thanks Angela. 🙂
I love it! These pics are adorable too. I feel like such a bum because we just buy our pumpkins at the local grocery store. Next year I’m thinking about planting our own. Wouldn’t that be cool? Of course, the only thing cooler would be to go to the pumpkin patch like you all!
My 14 year-old nephew planted his own pumpkins this year and we all took a trip over there to pick out some pumpkins. It was very cool. I’m too afraid of ultimate failure to attempt it. 🙂
I’m sure this week will be filled with arguments about who gets to pick the design for our pumpkin this year. Maybe I need to follow in your footsteps and get each kid their own? You are an absolute genius. 😀
Individual pumpkins are a MUST. I don’t Jack would have been fond of long eyelashes on his ghost pumpkin. 🙂
Megan (Best of Fates) says
“When did this kid get such a discerning eye for quality winter squash?” made me laugh out loud – sounds like a hilarious trip!
It was but most everything attempted with this kid is. 🙂
Angelia Sims says
So did Jack carve his punkin with a razor blade or what? Does it have a faux hawk now? LOL.
I just love that kid and Avery is a LIVING DOLL.