Happy or Scary? Liam’s Pumpkin.

October 28, 2010

Tonight we carved the first pumpkin of the season. Tomorrow we will carve four more. We bought it from Los Poblanos last weekend freshly picked from their gorgeous fields with the purple Sandias looming in the background. It was fun to have the adventure close to home, in our own community – it was a perfect day, intimate and quite special. As we decided upon the face for tonight’s carving, the discussion went as usual…will it be happy or scary? Tonight is Liam’s pumpkin. He drew the face. He thought it looked mean…but the carver has a bit of artistic license to “tweek” the details…
I’ve always veered toward the “Happy” in “Happy Halloween.” The scary is something that I avoid at all cost. The seasonal warmth of color, flavors and scents have always been comforting. Why freak-out and make things edgy and uncomfortable. Ok – I DO get it, I get the fun of it all…just don’t like it for me. From the old tattered Mummy costumes with the ratty gauze and fake blood, walking dead zombies, and Dracula (now vampires back in vogue) to Freddie and the slashers…no thank you!!
Growing up in Virginia, raking leaves was a major event around Halloween. It was an enormous job. It took several weekends. The woods surrounding our house with towering oak trees dropped tons of leaves over the course of the season. We would rake them and kick them into big piles and then rake and kick the piles onto huge bed sheets and then haul them to the curb. Sometimes they were wet leaves and sometimes they were dry. The smell of the wet leaves was bordering on moldy – not so much to be offensive – just different from the dry ones. These distinctions are still clearly and fondly embedded in my memory.
In my early childhood, “back in the day,” the streets were lined with everyone’s burning leaf piles, the fragrance of smoke was a wonderful part of the combination of smells that represented fall. But after a while it was environmentally unacceptable and the industry of leaf pick-up was formed and the great huge piles were collected from the curb in the enormous sucking, grinding trucks.
We had a mulching machine though, (yes, it now brings thoughts of Fargo and the chipper) and a fair amount went through that process as we lifted great bunches with the rake and gloved hands into the very noisy contraption to be recycled around all the azalea beds circling the house and along the edge of the woods. I always loved pressing the colorful leaves of fall between waxed paper. We continue that tradition today and did so when we returned from our pumpkin selecting, goat-petting, chicken watching day last weekend.
So, was it determined that we carve scary or happy? Here he is. Rather happy, I’d say. Liam said “He was supposed to look mean…but I like him happy, he’s just perfect!” Sappy, but true.

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