Wednesday, October 24, 2007


There is a tradition in these parts of taking trips to the pumpkin patch and plucking the jack-o-lantern material in a manner I prefer to reserve for strawberries and blueberries. I was raised in the great flat land to the south of the city whereupon many great pumpkins have been raised. My birthday is just a few days before Halloween and I did believe, until now, that I had partaken of every festive Halloween cliche there was. But, no. I have never actually gone for the pumpkin plucking. I suppose I am not as traditional as you might think then?

When Miss Fancy took a stab at it last year it was under the supervision of her grandparents, thank god. But this year it will be me. This year it will be me holding her hand through the muddy fields of rotting squashes along with the hand of some unknown 3 to 5 year old. We will be going on a daycare field trip, oh what fun. I believe we will all travel on a school bus and I will have my first taste of being the overprotective parent that always makes it for the field trips. This I won't mind. Likely, what I will mind is the canned festive spirit of the near-non-holiday that is Oct 31. The condescending diorama of 21st century agriculture that will inevitably attend this event will not doubt rile my rural roots. I say this not knowing if I even have a pair of boots from which I might appropriately toast the venture. I guess I should look into that.

I am a city transplant. My parents, though not from farms, both came from farm country. They wanted my brother and I to always have a taste of that it was a part of where they chose to raise us. They instilled in us a reverence for the work upon the hills and dales of this fare [sic] land that delivered to our table a lifetime of square carrots and Salisbury Steaks and home canned salmon and well-made bread. I believe any plans I might have for my children to 'get it' are sort of far fetched. What we'll see tomorrow is the first in a long string of harvest avatars that they will embrace. The first of all the RockHeath TM yoghurts of disctinction and all the Home-love 100% Organic Ingredients Hearth baked bread loaves they will choose to support for 15-20% more per checkout than the standard items. It's pretty crazy stuff to me the way we bury our kids in all the farmyard animal love Fisher-Price can produce but turn a blind eye to the facts that farms are over. Our children will likely never really know them. What we know now are agricultural circus attractions a myriad of petting zoos with chickens? What the hell? They are chickens! These are pumpkins people! Anyone can grow a pumpkin!

Tomorrow I will worship with the mud-loving tots. I will smile and feel the fresh air of an open field hopefully forgetting that I have no idea how I can make this strip-mall experience add up to anything for my kids in the longer term. I love the carving of the pumpkins after hauling out all the guts. It's good clean fun, eh? But it only comes after you get a little dirty which it what makes it sort of special and more real. Seems a bit of Catch-22, then?

Hey, hang on... there are my boots. Off I go...


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Blogger Mad said...

Mmmm, I am a Scorpio librarian from farm country looking for same...

What this isn't a personal ad site?

You're right. The family farm is all but dead and still we slip into this nostalgia for what we may or may not have known as children but want our children to experience fully. It rings kind of hollow. Out here, there is a fall school break in the adjoining county because so many kids need to help their families with the potato harvest. The county almost got rid of the break this year because fewer children are needed as manual labourers on the farm; the farms, of course, are now more like factories rolling out perfect french fry potatoes to keep us all buried in McCain grease. Yesterday at the grocery store I saw a new, patented variety of potato: finger sized and perfect for popping in the deep fryer straight up. No shit.

10:04 a.m.  
Blogger kittenpie said...

My rural experiences were always in the Iowa summers I spent with my grandma. It's a little sad that Pumpkinpie may never know a calf licking her fingers and new jacket, a goat trying to chew her hair, getting lost in a field of high corn.

1:41 p.m.  
Blogger Granny said...

My uncle had a "real" farm and I spent almost as much time there as I did at home.

Parts of me still miss it.

I'm surrounded by agriculture here in the San Joaquin valley but I'm not sure if there's one real farm left.

Miles and miles of the same thing whether it's almonds, grapes, or corn.

Or fast food franchises.

7:01 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today, in the park across the street from my house, a neighbourhood real estate agent is sponsoring a "pumpkin patch" event. He has his minions scattering pumpkins throughout the park and later, children will go and retrieve them. It's messed up. And I was raised urban.

Happy birthday. Hope your muddy adventure was fun.

11:42 a.m.  

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