The Pumpkin Patch
Years ago, when the girls were small, besides the trick or treating of Halloween, a highlight in October was visiting the pumpkin patch. We usually saved this special outing for the Saturday before Halloween. If memory serves me correctly, each year, the weather cooperated with sunny skies and fairly warm temperatures. Some years, the crisp, cool air of autumn gave us reason to wrap sweaters around our waists, just in case.
It was quite a long ride out to the pumpkin patch. The girls would get anxious repeating a familiar phrase, "Are we there yet?" Outside the city and a ways past the suburbs, we'd drive until we were out in the country and there, we'd find the spectacular farm all decorated for the harvest season. Huge scarecrows could be seen everywhere, greeting young and old alike. A barn converted into a craft store for the occasion had all you could want for the fall festivities.
Caramel apples covered in peanuts to sink your teeth into, cider to sip, and popcorn balls to crunch. No trip to the pumpkin
patch would be complete without a good old fashioned hay ride. The farmer's tractor pulled the long, wooden seated vehicle out into the middle of the patch as the children sang songs.The ride was bumpy, the songs were severely off key,
but the giggle of happy children always made for a joyful ride. When we reached our destination, the kids were instructed to only pick a pumpkin they were able to carry. Of course, it never failed. Bill and I would each be lugging an
oversized Jack-O-Lantern back to where the tractor waited. I fondly remember all the fun on a far away piece of farmland where the weather signaled the end of summer and the beginning of frost filled nights.
The other day, Bill and I took a ride that found us passing the same place we picked pumpkins with the kids.
Sadly, we witnessed its demise with no signs of the traditional Halloween happenings. Apparently, the farmland has been gone for a long time. It is now a sub-division with clusters of homes scattered all around the area. The only trace of hay, apple cider and friendly faced scarecrows to welcome us are in the memories of two aging parents and their now grown daughters. These days, we purchase our pumpkins at the local grocery store. Lately, we have resorted to painting on smiling faces instead of carving them. They are quite smaller than the gargantuan gourds our children use to choose.
Autumn is a special time of caring and sharing. It's a time to be thankful for the harvest that we reap, both nutritional and spiritual. In the harvest of our lives, I am grateful for the bounty of love and memories that are mine to forever cherish.