When I opened my Facebook page this morning, I saw pictures of my two baby cousins and they’re annual Halloween trip to the pumpkin patch to pick out their pumpkins. I knew Facebook could be used for good things, sometimes!
The first picture was of my baby cousin standing next to a scarecrow. My aunt was holding her, while it looked like she tried to squirm to get away from the tall figure with arms made of hay and the head of a pumpkin. The next picture was of my other baby cousin standing in a field, her smile beaming from ear to ear, amidst a smorgasbord of pumpkins. The third picture was the two of them standing side by side next to their pumpkins they picked. And finally, the last one was a picture of their pumpkins carved into different faces and glowing against the darkness of the night sky, while they sat on the back porch. All of these pictures made me remember one of my own first annual Halloween trips to the pumpkin patch when I was a kid back home.
Do you ever wonder why you remember some experiences in your childhood more than others? And those experiences you remember are usually random. They’re not the biggest or most significant events that happened to you when you were little, but held some impact on you some way. My first trip to the pumpkin patch was one of those experiences.
I don’t remember my exact age, but I was in pre-school. We had been talking about our trip to the pumpkin patch all week in class, and every day we’d go over more rules we had to try to follow when we got there so we’d be able to pick out pumpkins, and more rules regarding our pumpkin contest we would be holding in class the following week. By the time Friday morning came, I was excited.
I remember the weather being chilly. My mom bundled me up in my heaviest winter jacket before we left the house to make sure I wouldn’t catch a cold. When we pulled up at school, and I saw the huge wagon filled with hay that we would be driving to the field in, I just about jumped out of the car, sending my mom out to run after me.
The hayride was one of my favorite parts. I sat with my best friend, and we sang Halloween songs with my other classmates and my teachers, while we snacked on gingersnaps and apple cider. When we pulled up to the field and saw all the pumpkins, our teachers had to stop all of us from jumping off the wagon.
When they finally did let us off, we all ran in different directions. I separated from my best friend, who ran directly for the first largest and most orange pumpkin she laid eyes on. I, however, took my time choosing my pumpkin. This was a very important process for me, for my brothers told me the night before that it’s not always necessarily the biggest pumpkin that’s the best, but sometimes the little ones that are overlooked because they’re tiny. Keeping this in mind, I scanned the patch thoroughly and picked out a little one standing off in the corner, growing alone. When I got back to the wagon, my friend made fun of me for choosing such a little guy, but I didn’t mind. I knew my pumpkin was a winner, and I’d show her.
My mom let me stay up past my eight PM bedtime that Sunday night to decorate my pumpkin. Unhappy that I didn’t finish in time, I went to bed sad and disappointed, knowing that my pumpkin would certainly never win our contest for best looking.
When I woke up the next morning, my pumpkin sat on the kitchen table, complete and finished and looking amazing. My mom told me to thank my older brothers for staying up and finishing it for me the night before. And I did thank my brothers later that day, after I came back from school. My little pumpkin, the one growing off alone in the corner, won the contest.