Don't leave your pants in a pumpkin patch

One thing I loved about holidays growing up were the corresponding Charlie Brown TV specials.  I mean, who doesn't love "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown?" (I think that's what it's called).  In case you never watched this - in which case I think you can make a persuasive argument of abuse and/or neglect - Linus sits in the punkin patch (that's the folksy spelling that I just made up) all through Halloween waiting for the Great Punkin to bring presents to all the girls and boys.  He manages to talk Sally into sitting with him (or maybe she volunteers because she is not so secretly in love with this big headed, punkin obsessed kid), and they wait all night for the Great Punkin, who - shocker - is a no show.  In the end she gets pretty hacked off because she realizes that she missed all the good parts of Halloween while she was waiting around on the dreams of some stupid boy (there's a lesson in that girls).

Well Linus, do not despair - I have found your people and they have got your back.  Maybe you did not know this (and neither did I until I watched a public television special called "Lord of the Gourd" - because we get 4 channels on our TV), but there are people in this great land of ours that are just as passionate about punkins as you are Linus.  These produce engineers dedicate their lives to growing and weighing off giant punkins.  I'm talking about punkins that weigh 1044 lbs. , 1225 lbs., 1091 lbs.  (Apparently this last weight was a disappointment because they interviewed a bunch of people that seemed really upset about it.  I'm talking tears people.  No joke.)

If you think you've seen commitment, think again.  These punkin growers make Navy Seals look like a bunch of lay-about slackers.  The punkin competition circuit is apparently similar to a cage fight to the death and is wrought with hidden perils.  Among these - rodents, water, no water, bugs (all kinds), and sabotage from jealous competitors.  (Yes, sabotage - one family actually has surveillance cameras all around their punkin patch to catch the perps.  Which, they let us know, should serve hard time for their crimes against giant gourds.  It's vegicide is what it is really and we can't punish that severely enough I say.)

All other endeavors take a back seat to nurturing the punkins.  One of the growers actually said "sometimes I can't go to family stuff, like my daughter's soccer games, because I have to feed the punkins".  I pictured him sitting next to a huge punkin holding a spoon and yelling, (much like Brando in "Street Car..." or "On the Waterfront"), "Puuunnkiiinnn.  We could have been a contender".  (It was all very dramatic in my mind).

I was all impressed with these people until one of them said that taking care of his punkin was harder than taking care of an infant.  This was followed up by comments like :  "when you cut the punkin from its stem it's like cutting the umbilical cord from your baby", and "taking your punkin to the competition is like taking your child to college".  There was actually one lady (who ps. did not have actual human children)- that named her punkin Shasta (apparently her punkin was a stripper) and says it takes her days of solitude to mourn the loss of her punkins.  (By the way - Shasta weighed in at 700 lbs., that's a lot of stripper).

Okay.  Punkin Crazies answer me this, did you make dietary decisions based on what you could throw up with ease everyday of your punkin's growing season?  Exactly how many stretch marks will you carry for the rest of your life due to rapid weight gain because your punkin insisted on taking up every inch of space inside your body that it could get it's greedy little punkiny hands on?  Did someone tell you that your punkin would be ready to go to competition on a certain day, but then the punkin decided that it wouldn't be ready until 12 days later?  How much sleep do you average per night when your punkin is cutting its teeth? Is it hard to find a punkin sitter on short notice?  How do you get away with leaving your punkin out in the field all night because I'm pretty sure the state would frown on that if I did it to one of my kids - even if I did cover them with a handmade patchwork quilt like you do.  I'd imagine that "this is how the giant punkin growers do it and those things get huge" might not be an acceptable defense when children's services came a knockin'.  And finally, what is the going rate for punkin tuition these days, because I'm checking into selling my organs on the black market to pay for my three kids to go to college and if you've got a better plan I'd love to hear it.

Punkin Growers of the world hear my voice - unless you can answer these questions to the satisfaction of every mother that has grown, birthed/adopted, cleaned the amazing variety of bodily fluids from, and dried the tears of another human being - enough with the infant references.  (This goes for all you animal lovers out there too - although I know I'm gonna take a hit for it.)  Nothing that you take care of will ever be like taking care of a child.  I don't care how cute it is, or how much time it took to do it, it's not taking care of a child.  It may be a noble pursuit, or a passionate hobby, but it is not taking care of a child.

Even Linus could figure this one out, because at the end of the day when his punkin disappointed him, he went home to the one whose work was raising actual children.  His mommy.  And if she believed, as I do, that the best way to deal with disappointment in life is to eat something that tastes good, she would've served him up a big old piece of punkin pie (with whipped cream) and smiled at the irony of it all.

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Amy Jo said...

I am in love with this post! Don't you just love public television?!

Val said...

How did I miss that PBS special? Without cable I'm all over those kinds of shows! Amen to the punkinheads and people with pets. Do you really need more things to worry about?

The Laundry Queen said...

Having lost more than just a few nights sleep lately, I say "Hear, hear!" to this one. My "punkins" have been sitting on the porch very nicely, thanks, emitting nary a peep. Just as hard my a@$!

Emily said...

First, WOW!!! This is a good post, way funny. I thank you, my abs don't. Second, I've previed my attention to a punkin show or two in my lifetime and I have to agree these folks are crazies. I love it when they try to water down the pumpkin and keep it as plump as possible.

Alyson said...

This is the kind of essay I would love to write. I think you should send this one to Wonder Time, that fairly new upscale parenting magazine. They often have intelligent, funny articles, and this would be a great one for their October/November issues. I'm serious.

Alyson said...

This is the kind of essay I would love to write. I think you should send this one to Wonder Time, that fairly new upscale parenting magazine. They often have intelligent, funny articles, and this would be a great one for their October/November issues. I'm serious.