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Location: Midwest, United States

I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pumpkin Patch Sandwich

Remember when Charlie Brown waited in vain in the pumpkin patch for the arrival of the Great Pumpkin? Today O. and I went on an excursion to a little pick-your-own pumpkin farm in an attempt to procure, if not the Great Pumpkin, at least a great pumpkin. It was pure Midwestern joy. And pure Midwestern agony. And a dash of Midwestern surrealism thrown in there for good measure.

Surreal moment number one: As we caravanned to the pumpkin patch with two carloads of pumpkin-hungry friends (including Ma and Pa Feral and their cute girlies M. and C.), O. noted each new farmhouse and tried to identify the crop growing in the adjacent fields. It was pretty easy: corn, corn, corn. As we neared one farmhouse, however, we were met with a different crop, green and low to the ground. “What kind of farm is that, Mama?” O. asked, and I was just about to start pulling guesses out of my ass when I saw a sign. Excellent. Hard information conveyed via the written word. The sign read “Prairie State Semen, Inc.” and featured a silhouette of a hog. “Um, I guess it’s a sperm farm, honey.” And whatever the crop was, I guess it’s what they feed sperm-donating hogs.

Moment of joy one: the hay bale maze. Hay bale mazes rock. Running around getting lost and found with happy, shrieking toddlers and smiling adults. Plus, it’s shady in there, very important on an eighty-five degree October afternoon when the sun is beating down mercilessly.

Moment of joy two: gourd art. Art made of gourds. A wall of gourds of wildly various shapes and colors, a mountain of gourds heaping above my head. Praise the gourd.

Moment of agony: the actual trip out to the actual pumpkin patch. Maybe I was just getting too hot and sun-dazed. Maybe I’m just an ag wimp. But I did not enjoy dragging my kid in a wagon out beyond all the friendly displays and small stands of trees out into the actual field of pumpkins to look for a pumpkin. First of all, have I mentioned that it was in the mid-eighties and sunny as hell? And as any farmer can tell you, there’s not a spot of shade in a field of pumpkins. (Charlie brown had the right idea hanging out in the pumpkin patch in the middle of the night.) Plus, it wasn’t really picking pumpkins off the vine so much as choosing pumpkins someone else had cut off the vine and spread around the sun-baked field. (This may actually have been a plus, since I have no idea how to remove a pumpkin from its tough, fibrous vine.) Plus, every pumpkin that looked good turned out, after the briefest of inspections, to be squishily rotting in places or to have mold growing on the underside of it. After being fooled by approximately a dozen decent-looking pumpkins that turned out to be a mess, I gave up. There’s a weekly farmer’s market three blocks from my house. What’s wrong with letting the professionals pick a number of viable pumpkins and bring them to a convenient location that does not necessitate my standing around in a field sweating my ass off? Still, I was a little downcast that I would be heading home with a few cool gourds, but no big orange jack-o-lantern material, no Great Pumpkin. Defeat.

Moment of joy three: Luckily, I saw a nice, tall, shapely pumpkin on the side of the path on our way out of the pumpkin patch and decided to try one last time. I found no mold, nor any squishy spots. As I placed the Great-Enough Pumpkin in the wagon with O, I saw M. and C. pulling empty wagons as Feral Mom and Mr. Feral trailed behind, gamely carrying a twenty-pound pumpkin each in their arms.

Moment of joy four: Or should I say “moment of sublime pleasure”? I have three words for you: pumpkin ice cream. Pumpkin ice cream is good, y’all. Imagine a slice of pumpkin pie making sweet, honeyed love to a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Find some. Try some. You’ll be glad you did.

Surreal moment number last: On the drive home, O. and I needed to make a pit stop for some water and a pee. We stood outside the occupied single bathroom, sampling our brand-name water. O. noted the flowers decorating his bottle and repeatedly exclaimed “Mama, I can taste the flowers in this water! This water is good!” (Note to the Fiji marketing department: you’ve apparently scored with the water-festooned bottles, at least among the three-year-old demographic.) We waited. And waited. I’d begun to get cranky and to inwardly resent whoever was taking such a fucking long time in the bathroom, when a kindly-looking old lady emerged, decked out in Sunday blouse and slacks. Needless to say, my resentment melted away. The kindly-looking old lady smiled, leaned in to O, literally pinching his cheek, and said in a loud voice “You are so cute! I heard you talking, and you kept me entertained while I was in there!” Then she turned to me and said, in an equally loud voice, “Sorry it took me so long. When you have to have a bowel movement, you have to have a bowel movement!”

And I cannot argue with that logic.


Blogger Lisa said...

Oh my God! Thank you for making me laugh at work with a mouthful of lukewarm coffee. I love sweet old ladies who don't care what anyone thinks. In fact, I hope to be one someday.

Lisa (Blah Blah)

10:20 AM  
Blogger Lucky Star said...

Aw....I'm glad you ended up finding a good pumpkin! And I think the rest of it sounded fun, but the heat???? Bleh.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous sweatpantsmom said...

I'm still reeling from the Semen Farm.

1:40 AM  
Blogger jen said...

hilarious, semen and all. And 10 bucks fiji now hits you up for ad space.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Orange said...

Maybe I should blog my own pumpkin-purchasing trip to the boonies. Highlights: pig races, women with mullets, a hay-bale maze with a roof that was really just a crooked tunnel with a strobe light in the middle, a pumpkin catapult (yes!), and more—all on a farm that used to grow pumpkins, but now trucks 'em in from elsewhere so you can "pick" one in a grassy field.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Orange said...

(Plus: No semen!)

4:54 PM  
Blogger E. said...

I think Orange's pumpkin patch experience has got mine beat by a country mile. Except: no semen!

7:06 PM  
Blogger Lucky Star said...

I just read your last post and I feel compelled to comment, so I hope you're comfortable with that.

Used socks are A-OK. They get washed, right? Also, unless you are steadfastly opposed to stores such as Wal-mart or K-mart, they have socks that are just dandy. Malls make me more ill than those stores, but only because it seems to take longer to get in and out of a mall.

I love what the other Lisa said about wanting to someday be an old lady who doesn't care what anyone thinks...and I must say: I already am one and it's pretty much AWESOME.

10:24 PM  

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