Originally Posted 10/25/2012
Pumpkins on a doorstep, along flowerbeds and in autumn scenes provide an instant fall feel to any yard or landscape come September and October. (Even when it is 87 degrees outside as it is today in North Texas!) I always buy two to three pumpkins around this time of year to place them in a cluster near my flowerbed of golden lantana. The combination is magic! I mentioned to my boyfriend recently that he needed a pumpkin or two in his front yard to provide a little autumn spice to his house. Being an avid gardener and self-proclaimed amateur landscape architect like myself, he didn’t take too well to having someone else offer suggestions for HIS yard!
Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t disrespectful, he just stated he had other plans for his fall decor. I let it drop, but I continued to browse the pumpkin patches and outdoor displays at the local grocery stores – just in case the perfect pumpkin appeared! One day last week, I was making a stop at the grocery store before heading over to my boyfriend’s. I love to use the little mini-rolling grocery carts as they are much easier for my 5 foot 1 inch, 50 year old body to maneuver. I spied one of the small carts out in the parking lot on the way into the store and grabbed it. As I was rolling up to the entrance of the grocery store, I saw three huge cartons filled with pumpkins just to the left of the doorway. My cart went into auto-pilot, veering toward the orange gourds.
I was viewing them from a distance, as I knew the closer I got the more likely I’d buy one or two and I knew my boyfriend wasn’t too keen on having them in his yard – not yet anyway – as he hadn’t laid out his plan. As I looked from a distance, out of the corner of my eye I saw a young man rounding up errant carts and lining them up for new customers. He saw me peering at the pumpkins and noticed I was deep in thought. He loudly spoke in my direction, “Do you want a pumpkin?” I jolted from my thoughts, looked over at him and discovered he was an employee of the store with Down Syndrome. He had the most excited expression on his face. He asked me again, “Do you want a pumpkin?” I told him I didn’t know, that I was really just looking. He came over and said, “Don’t worry, I will find you the biggest pumpkin!” and he proceeded to move dozens of pumpkins out of the huge box. I stood there watching as he sweated and worked to find the biggest pumpkin. I told him several times not to bother looking further, that the one he just had in his hand was fine. Nope, he continued to dig in the box. At last, he came to a gargantuan pumpkin near the bottom of the box. He worked his arms one way, then another, and then climbed into the box to get to the giant pumpkin. Once he had a good grasp on it, he picked it up and heaved it into my basket. He then very proudly and with a brilliant smile on his face proclaimed, “I found THE biggest pumpkin for you!” I thanked him with mutual tears of joy in my eyes and rolled into the store. Thank goodness all I truly needed to pick up was a loaf of bread and a half gallon of milk. There literally was no room for anything more in my basket and I could barely push the cart as it was! In fact, one little boy that encountered me in the store pointed and exclaimed, “Look mom, it’s The Great Pumpkin.”
Indeed it is . . . and it sits magnificently in my boyfriend’s front yard for all to see!
Until next time,
The Great Pumpkin of 2012!