Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Uncarved Pumpkin


Halloween is a bit strange this year. Will I carve a scary jack-o-lantern face on the small lonely pumpkin sitting on my front stoop?

For years it fell to me to guide first my older son and then the younger one in this annual family tradition. Because of hungry squirrels eager to chow down on our pumpkins, we always waited until Halloween afternoon to commence the carving ritual. I never brought in the pumpkin soon enough for it to warm up, and it was always cold when I cut the top off and delved in to remove the seeds and goop, sometimes up to my elbows if it was a large pumpkin.

I don’t remember exactly how old sons were before they were entrusted with a knife. Kids wielding knives scare me as much as kids wielding paint brushes. I never asked them to help with painting projects, but I did eventually pass my pumpkin-carving baton to them.

The last several years, I took the role of pumpkin purchaser and then watched as younger son learned to do a fine job without incident. After he finished, I’d admire the work, search for a candle and we’d set the creation out by the front door so the trick-or-treaters knew we had treats for them.

Alas, with College Boy away this year, I may leave the pumpkin uncarved. My heart just isn’t in it.

23 comments:

Joe said...

Perhaps a sad face to show he is missed...

Joe said...

I always knew soybeans had to be good for something. I just never knew what, until now...

Lorelei said...

Yes, a sad one to let him know he's missed. It will be good therapy.

Marion said...

Instead of carving (and the ritual that went with it, along with the closeness with my kids...the best part) I now pile a couple of pumpkins and squashes, with a potted plant or two by the door.

It gives a harvest time look, without bringing back all the memories at a time when they are still too raw.

My heart hasn't been in finding the character in the pumpkin for a long while, Sheila, and it may never again, unless the grandkids are near, lol!

Sheila said...

Marion, I can understand. Maybe as you say the time might again be right. I like the idea of placing pumpkins by the door for decoration instead.

lorelei and joe,
Maybe the sad face would be the way to go.

Jay Croft said...

I hate carving out pumpkins. The goop, as you call it, is gross and the smell stays on your hands for a long time.

My grandmother prided herself on her home cooking, but as for pumpkin pies, she bought canned pumpkin.

Miss Trashahassee said...

We never got into the pumpkin-carving stuff. Don't know why, either. Strange!

BFF,
Miss T

CyberCelt said...

I almost started crying. My son left home this year. He lives in an apartment here in town, but I still do not see him often. Just checking links for the BV carnival.

Sheila said...

jay,
Your grandmother was smart. I always buy the canned pumpkin too. I eventually discovered that you can get by with less goop removal although I started out thinking I had whistle-clean the pumpkin.

Miss T,
It's funny what traditions our families decide to adopt. Maybe I started the carving of the jack 'o lantern because as a kid I hardly ever got to experience trick or treating since we lived out in the country.

cybercelt,
I know. Even if your son is not too far away, he is still developing a life with you out of the picture much of the time. It's a big change and lots of little details we once took for granted are lost.Glad you left a comment.

Jackie said...

I am amazed at some of the beautiful carvings that some people do when I can't even cut a big pumpkin in half so always have to buy the tiny ones with soft skins.

Sheila said...

Jackie, I haven't seen soft-skinned pumpkins. Those would be great for the cooks who like to use fresh pumpkins.

MsDemmie said...

Make a happy one, take a picture and post it to him so he knows that he is missed and that you continue the tradition.

Sandy Carlson said...

That would be nice to send a photo! I agree with Ms Demmie.

Cecile said...

My kids are little, so we still carve pumpkins. I can see how sad it will be when they are all gone and out of the house.

Sheila said...

msdemmie and sandy,
I think it would please College Boy to know that he is missed. I'm now leaning toward at least one more pumpkin to carve. I love the smell from the candle and the littlest trick or treaters will love a happy jack.

cecile,
Hug those little kiddos for before you know, you will be the one wondering where did all of those years go.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for leaving comments to all new visitors and old friends alike.

Dirty Butter said...

We have always been very minimal in our use of Halloween traditions, so I've never decorated for this holiday. But, if this is a tradition of yours, you would probably feel better in the long run if you did carve one. Sending the photo to your son sounds like a great idea.

Glad you posted this for our BLOG VILLAGE Fall Fest Carnival!!

Janey Loree said...

I'm going through the same thing of adjusting to life without my sons living in the same house! They moved to Texas and even though they call often, it's not the same. We all have some firsts to go through...first Thanksgiving without them, first Christmas, first ride to the coast...

I come via the BLOG VILLAGE Fall Fest Carnival! Touching post, Sheila...

Sheila said...

DB,
We don't decorate too much especially since the guys have grown up, but the jack o' lantern was always a constant element at the very least. It is amazing that we as a society spend so much on decorations and such and a big part of me thinks it is misguided.

Janey,
I imagine you do miss your sons too. It sounds like you were very close in distance and now that has changed. We are lucky though to have the calls, emails and photos to share with our sons.

Janey Loree said...

Hi Sheila, my sons lived at home until two months ago. I love the invention of the cell phone, computer and digital camera with renewed alacrity now that they live 1200 miles away!

Kyle & Svet Keeton said...

Thank you, Sheila!

It's so pleasure to learn customs of another countries, and you are so good story-teller. So I just read and enjoyed your small sweet story :))).

Svetlana
PS We don't have anything like Halloween at all in Russia.

Sheila said...

Svet, I imagine you would find all the Halloween hoopla very strange if you Russians have nothing like it.

Palm Springs Savant said...

With all the choas of my party this year, I completely forgor to carve the pumpkins at the house. ::sigh:: oh well, maybe next year!

Sheila said...

Well, I did carve a slightly goofy smile on Jack's face. A party is a good excuse to forgo the pumpkin ritual, PSS.