AND THEN AGAIN…….by Tamara Pettit

“The Pumpkin War”

Autumn has just begun, yet I have seen no leaf in flight, but I have seen a multitude of pumpkins.   I’m not sure what the fascination with the round orange vegetable is but make no mistake we all embrace it.  People love pumpkins so much they take their kids to see pumpkins (Baby Emmy, aka Sissy, is shown at a place Abbi and Brad visited just to give Madelyn and Emmy the full pumpkin experience. I don’t get, Emmy gets to sit it them, but as you can tell it doesn’t appear to be a blast for, I don’t get it.   Would you travel that far just to experience a zucchini……eggplant? Why a pumpkin?.   And, I also have to wonder what Baby Emmy was thinking when they sat her down and piled pumpkins around her.  “What fun…. how the heck do I get these things off me.”  

…. Families today are big on experiences.  Abbi seeks to expose her little ones to acrobats, story hours, trips to see animals and pet them, trips to see trucks and touch them.   I am sorry to report that my kids never experienced any of this.  Their trips were pretty much confined to bike rides up and down Second Avenue.  Every once in a while, I would realize we were doing nothing to enrich these two kids and we “as a family” had to do something normal.

……What could be more normal than a drive through the winding roads of Oglebay Park on Fall Sunday to see the brilliantly colored leaves before they fell.  The kids’ dad thought it to be the worst idea in the world and reminded me that I got carsick.   No problem, I had taken Dramamine and was prepared.   As we prepared to go Shannon showed up holding the dreaded “Mr. Pumpkin.”

…. Did your kid ever have a toy you absolutely hated?  It either made an obnoxious noise, looked stupid, or was always laying on the floor for you to trip over it.   Mr. Pumpkin met all three criteria, and it was her favorite.   We had not bought it for her.  There is some unwritten rule that every time she visited my dad, his wife Betty would take her shopping for a toy of Shannon’s choice.  That’s why Mr. Pumpkin entered our life.   He was a blow-up pumpkin that had a bottom, a middle and a head. So, you had to blow up all parts separately and quite frequently because when the air leaked out of one part, he appeared misshapen, and Shannon was sure he was dying.  But the most irritating part of Mr. Pumpkin was the bell in his stomach. Every time you shook him the bell rang.  Why I don’t know, nor did anyone else, except it irritated even Shannon who liked it best when Mr. Pumpkin was quiet.

…….” I don’t think Mr. Pumpkin needs to go, “I told her, and her eyes welled up letting me know we weren’t leaving the house without this tacky plastic travesty of a pumpkin.….

…..Shannon won that round.  And we were just entering leaf country when Doug reached over and gave Mr. Pumpkin a smack that not only rang his bell but landed him face down.   Shannon screeched and Doug did it again and again.  The logic of “if you stopped whaling like a banshee, he won’t do it” didn’t work with her.”

…..Doug had discovered a new game “Make Your Sister Scream for Very Little Effort” and he was having great fun so I put an end to it and ordered him to sit on his hands for the rest of the car ride.

….Again, an outcry followed by sobs from Shannon.

“What, what can he possibly be doing to your pumpkin now?”  I was at my wits

“He’s staring at Mr. Pumpkin. Make him stop. Tell him not to look at him.  He’s scaring Mr. Pumpkin.”

Sure enough, Doug had his laser eye stare directed at the pumpkin. What was scary was that on his face was the sweetest smile a ten-year-old could have,

  ” “Pull over right now” I told their dad, and I opened the door. And   threw up.  A fitting end to an imperfect day and what may been our family’s last attempt to be normal.

    Actually, normal is highly overrated and really boring.