November 07, 2004

Pumpkin bites the dust

Each year toward the end of September our family goes apple picking and at the same time we ALWAYS choose a pumpkin to use as decoration for the holidays. This has been going on since we moved to Vermont in 1993 when we used to visit Chapin Orchards in Essex each fall. The weather was usually clear, crisp, and occasionally pretty cold, but we always had a wonderful time, came home with more apples than we could ever eat, and a pumpkin that had character.

Since moving to South Carolina, we have frequented Sky Top Orchards near Hendersonville for this annual event. Sometimes it has been the four Egolfs, at times, when one was away at college, there were only three and this year we added our beautiful daughter-in-law and one of Gwen's friends to the group so there were six of us. As Mandy put it, it's a real cultural experience!

The chosen pumpkin always has had a place of honor in the living room until sometime in mid-winter when it would inevitably begin to get soft around the bottom and would be relegated to the deck for the squirrels to dismantle. Vermont squirrels were always very good at removing the seeds and leaving the outer shell to collapse. When the snow disappeared each spring, we would have a large orange splotch on the corner of the deck where the remains of the pumpkin had been. South Carolina squirrels are not quite as efficient, maybe because they are too well-fed and don't really need the seeds from a derelict pumpkin to make it through the winter.

Our pumpkins have always been chosen for their character, not necessarily because they were perfectly shaped, but maybe because they had an interesting stem or reminded us of Aunt Mildred or some other benevolent relative. Last year's specimen made me think of Ichabod Crane every time I looked at it. It was rather tall and thin and had that Sleepy Hollow look about was also a very long-lasting squash. "Ichabod" sat on the hearth until late April of this year....a record, I think, for squashes. This year's pumpkin was more rotund and jack-o-lantern-like and, although it has been a rather jolly looking character, it's longevity just has not made the grade. Last night when I was blowing out the candles next to it, I noticed with great sadness that our pumpkin has become very soft around the stem. In fact, it's grown quite moldy and will, in the next day or so, need to be removed from it's current resting place to the deck for the squirrels to work on. The unseasonably warm fall has taken it's toll on our annual decoration. Fortunately, this year we have a backup!

Posted by lsegolf at November 7, 2004 08:49 PM

I hope the replacement stands the test! I like hearing about other family's traditions. We always put up the christmas tree a couple days after thanksgiving while chowing down on Domino's Pizza. It's not really anything spectacular but it is a thing of home.

Posted by: timf at November 24, 2004 04:01 PM
Post a comment

Please note: Comments will not appear immediately. Your comment will appear upon approval by the blog's editor. We had to implement this to decrease the amount of spam that our site receives. Please forgive the inconvenience. We are looking into other, friendlier options.

Remember personal info?