A giant pumpkin can be a thing of beauty

October 25, 2011

Hey, now is the time to take that wonderful fall trip to see the foliage. Well, not for me - I can’t even spell the word, let alone say it correctly. I never know if it is supposed to be foilage or follage; it’s sort of like the words aluminum foil. Too many odd letters; it just doesn’t sound right. Even the spell check on my computer pretends it is not working when I enter the term foliage.

I tried taking one of these trips a long time ago; let’s simplify it and call it a jaunt to see the changing colors of the leaves. Then we’ll all breathe a sigh of relief.

Anyway, I drove up to New Hampshire and I must say the colors were spectacular. It was quite a drive though. I never took into consideration how long it would take me to get there and whenever I drive that far, I always listen to my favorite country western station.

The problem is that these songs are so darn sad, what with the loneliness of everyone breaking everyone else’s heart, loved ones walking away with some other guy, running into an old flame and hanging around the bar late at night sobbing. By the time I got to Burlington, I was an emotional wreck. The leaves turned into one big tearful blur. Still I would encourage everyone else to give it a whirl. The bus trip might be safer; I’m speaking from a mental health standpoint.

Anyway, the other great thing about this season is all the wonderful colorful vegetables available around this time of year, especially the much-touted pumpkin. There is nothing like walking through a row of bright orange pumpkins lined up in a pumpkin patch. Well, unless you are a pumpkin, then it can be hair raising, even though the owner has probably told the pumpkins that the most that can happen to them once they are sold is a little plastic surgery.

Decorating with pumpkins on the front lawn is popular in many neighborhoods today. People love to put stuff out there. In an effort to fit in, in my younger days I used to buy the biggest pumpkin I could find. Of course this has consequences in itself, like several consecutive back surgeries for herniated discs, and that’s just the result of loading it into the trunk of your car.

Actually at around a $100 a pound it was a real steal. You just can’t help yourself sometimes. Then you throw in the apple cider, several gourds, a few corn husks, some plump hay stacks and you are all set for your next home equity loan.

So I took this pumpkin home after unloading it with a forklift and found just the right spot for it next to the lamp post by the front door. It really is decorative. At least for a while.

Sure, the giant pumpkin gave me hours of beauty. But then the sun came out, bright and hot. It rose high in the sky, beating down its warm rays on the giant pumpkin.

Every day I watch this pumpkin sink lower and lower into the ground. And then it started to fester and rot into the ground, giving anyone passing by the worst sinus headache ever recorded in medical history. The stench was so powerful the mailman had to wear a handkerchief over his nose and mouth.

I could, on a good day, dash to my car, but the molecules of this melting mass of protoplasm clung to my clothes and forced my neighbors to leave town early for a winter spa vacation.

Eventually friends stopped coming by and until the cold weather set in I had to resort to desperate measures, namely a long drive to Vermont to see the foliage.

Still that orange vegetable can be a lot of fun; you just have to wait until the frost is on that pumpkin to feel safe.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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