Sunday, August 29, 2004

One Less Stop For The Great Pumpkin

I'm writing this at 2a, so please excuse the typos. I'll fix 'em later.

You may ask "Why is this freak posting & not in bed?" Well, according to this article, my beloved pumpkin patch may be no more in the near future.

And, it's made me sad.

One day, I'll take my children shopping there & as we walk across the cold tile floor, under the acoustical ceiling & security camera pods, feeling & smelling the cold recirculated air conditioning & being bathed in flourescent light, I'll tell the kids that once upon a time, I used to go there & feel the earth beneath my feet, walk under the deep blue sky, smell the hay & dust & feel the warm sunlight on my skin. I'll point out to them where the haybale castle used to stand; where the ponyrides & the kettle corn stand & the scarecrow used to be. I might even be able to pick out a few places where The Boy & I would find animal tracks & guess at what animal left them as we followed the prints to some half-eaten gourd. I'll show them where we used to stand & throw rocks into the creekbed below.

I'll tell them about coming to the patch after Halloween, when all of the Christmas trees were readied for sale. I'll reminisce about the smell of the fresh cut trees & cinnamon & cider on cool autumn nights. Even though we never bought a tree there (the mess coupled with the fact that I tend to leave the artificial tree up until February makes it an unappealing proposition), there was a certain something about just going & looking at & smelling the trees.

The opening of the patch is the one thing that I look forward to every year. It means that fall has finally arrived. The nights will start earlier, the temperature will start cooling - well, in a month or so. It means Halloween is just around the corner, & with it an abundance of ghost stories about Headless Hessians & other goblins & creepy crawlies that go bump in the night. It means looking forward to & wondering what the theme for the annual haunted house in the graphics department at work - one of the only times that I enjoy being at the place - will be. And soon after that, Thanksgiving & Christmas, being with family & stuffing myself silly with pumpkin pie &, for a short time at least, having that feeling that peace on Earth & goodwill toward men is an actual possibility.

You see, Loyal Readers, the pumpkin patch isn't just a physical place. It's another milemarker in my life. It's something to look forward to. It's a place where my memories live &, I hope for a little while longer, a few more will be made.

I'll mourn the day when all that's left of it are just memories. A story to be passed on to my children as we shop.