A Pumpkin Predicament | Teen Ink

A Pumpkin Predicament

October 13, 2015
By samdewees GOLD, Farmington, New Mexico
samdewees GOLD, Farmington, New Mexico
19 articles 0 photos 15 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." - Neil Gaiman

My earliest memories are based around the most basic sensations. Smell wafted in like the lazy scent from the sugar cookies in the oven. Touch shocked the senses like the cool, slimy consistency of the bright orange pumpkin ‘guts’ that I loved and yet hated to feel. Then there was sight. Sight smiled with crinkled eyes like my mother who stayed attached to my side during each sensation, laughing with a deep, addicting chuckle as I eagerly licked off the mixing spoons to our various creations. All of these moments show brief snapshots of my life. They are photographs and moving pictures that I keep in a hat-box to be constantly pulled out and reminisced over.

I remember a single story house that had a play kitchen in the living room and a large, lusty stereo that constantly filled the house with music to accompany the familiar giggle and cry. The house had a two person family, a small happy family for a small happy house. The day that I bade farewell to my childhood home, I turned around for my last look and saw memories, snapshots, spilling from the door of the ‘hat-box’ house. Overflowing from the house were colorful recollections accompanied by sights, touches, and smells. First the thrift-store tea party and the blue mermaid tail burst forth. Then the spider in the cupboard and numerous long nights of sickness and of health seeped over the edge of the windows. I said goodbye to that house with a smile on my face knowing I would never have to say good-bye to my memories.

Amelia Kathleen, my mother, is a silently strong woman. If asked, she would pick countless other words to describe herself before settling on strong. My parents got divorced around the time I reached the naive age of two. Their red-conversed, river rafting love that had brought me into the world ran out after a few years. The divorce seemed simple enough. He had his stuff, she had her stuff, but I had always been their stuff. During this time my mother became the rock that kept me afloat in the rapids of my raging life. We were always doing something, always keeping busy in my early years. Divorce did not occur as often in the early 2000’s and many of my peers didn’t know what I meant when the topic of visitation was brought up, it sounded abnormal to have  such a thing as separate households. Despite my unconventional parent situation, my mother did all she could to create a traditional home atmosphere.

Home was simple for me. It needed no flamboyant expositions or intricate illustrations. Home was crinkle eyed, worry lined mother. Home was bright orange pumpkins, messy cupcakes, and gooey cookies. Home was laughter and imagination. In the living room, accompanying the play kitchen, stood a tent in the shape of a castle. Two dresses, one well worn with torn edges and one well kept with glistening fake silk, were stored with the giant teddy bear within the caste. My childhood games would start with dropping onto my hands and knees then scrubbing the ‘real’ kitchen floor. Suddenly I would be whisked off to the castle, make a quick costume change, and become a princess. Entertaining myself never grew old and looking back I now know I owe that to my mother. She constantly accompanied me in ever changing activities, but she didn’t crowd me. She and my grandmother spoiled me to the bone, and yet she let me learn my own lessons.

October has always been an eventful month for me. Not only is it my birth month, but it constantly bustled with the sound of home-made halloween costumes, impertinent toddler home entires, and the infamous jack-o-lanterns. As a child I had a love for petite objects that could easily be carried, hidden, and kept close. Due to this trait I had acquired a marvelous 6 by 5 in. orange gourd after a day of pumpkin shopping in the grocery store. When shopping for the perfect smiling squash my mother would find the quintessential pumpkin, never too big or too small. It simply fit the right size for carving. I, however, have never thought that far in advance, instead rushing to where the pocket sized pumpkins stood small and proud. In that moment I knew I had laid my eyes on my victim for that years carving. After examining the candidate from every possible angle and deciding it worthy, I picked it up and presented it to my mother with a not-very-innocent toothy grin and pleading eyes.

Raising me had its difficulties to say the least. After my Dad moved away, I entered my terrible twos, troubled threes, ferocious fours, frightening fives, and stubborn sixes. My tantrum consisted of the entire package: kicking, screaming, and a plethora of fake crying. At three years old I had a long, body mirror on the back of my door. There came a day when I had been crying and screaming over a now trivial matter, when I happened to kick the mirror and shatter the left hand corner with one blow. I then proceeded to cry for fear of the inevitable seven years bad luck. Mother had it hard sometimes and I didn’t help make it easy, but she picked and chose which battles to fight.

She looked at the pumpkin in my hand with raised eyebrows and then looked at my face. Mother sighed in defeat, knowing with certainty this fight was one I wouldn’t give up easily. After a single attempt at warning me of the less than preferable size and my preceding whine of protest, she allowed me to buy the pumpkin. This lesson had to be learned on my own and by dawn the next morning the lesson became evident as I walked out to see how our Jacks had fared the night before.

Carving became a spectacle in our small house. Large, lived in shirts were thrown on, coupon paper were collected and spread carefully across the dining table, tools were assembled, and pumpkins prepared. We would then draw our design and commence the carving, or I would draw an attempt at a design and my mother would commence the carving. Two spoons sat on the table dutifully prepared to extract the ‘pumpkin guts.’ However, my hands were enthusiastic volunteers and I would usually end up elbow deep in the stringy, gooey ‘stuff’ that I secretly loved. My mother may have been the carver of the group, but I deemed myself the pumpkin gut detacher. Once carved, gutted, and deemed presentable, the jack-o-lanterns were placed in the front yard with a single candle sitting in them to help illuminate the night.

Morning came fast as did the death of my little pumpkin friend. Walking out to my front porch I could see the two pumpkins standing side by side, but I noticed something seemed wrong with the pumpkin I had so eagerly picked out. Coming to the front of the jack-o-lanterns, my mouth dropped open in miserable disbelief. My pumpkin no longer looked like a pumpkin, but a deformed and melted pile of mush, its smiling face barely visible from underneath the mess of orange and black. Seeing what happened, my mother looked over at me. She’s rarely told me ‘I told you so,’ and in that moment she didn’t need to, her look spoke loudly enough.

That fall fiasco is stashed in my hat-box, under the memories marked ‘Never Forget.’ Occasions and memories such as these are the ones that made me into the the person I am today. It was warm fuzzy snapshots such as these that I hope will shape me into who I’ll be in the future. Moving pictures from my life, stacked one atop of another, too many to count. Those are the moments that are priceless. Those are the moments that I capture, keep, and pull out on a rainy day.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.