Tuesday, October 17, 2006

On Gourd

We went punkin huntin' this weekend.

As far as the whole prey-stalking thing goes, this was pretty much a bust. They just sat in their field, all orange and plump against a background of mud and stalks. We bagged our limit rather quickly. Not much of a challenge, really. I'm hoping for more of a chase when we head out in December for the wily and elusive tannenbaum.

Actually, the pumpkin farm where the various iterations of my family have been picking our pumpkins for the past decade or so has transformed itself over the years from a pleasant little hayride out to the fields and back, to what could best be described as a farm-based theme park.

They even charge admission now.

But that's ok, because it really is fun. The kids and I got there a little after 1pm on Saturday, and stayed til nearly six. There were differend rides, some people-powered, some gravity-powered, and a few animal and machine powered ones as well. There was a giant pumkin slingshot, pedal cars, tractor tires to walk in, a nature trail, a corn maze, a few animatronic puppet shows, pigs, peacoks, reindeer, goats, turkeys, decorator chickens, straw forts, corn pits, swings, slides...and I'm forgetting something...

Oh, yeah. Pumpkins.

We left with about fifty pounds of pumpkin in the trunk, and about six ounces of hay in various parts of my children's anatomy* that took extended hybrid shower/baths to completely extract.

Yesterday, we started the carving process. I'm sure it's too soon, but the kids really wanted their jack-o-lanterns. Especially my daughter.

Along with the pumkins, this year I bought one of those specialty pumkin-carving tool kits,** and it came with a bunch of patterns. My kids are very excited about having some 'cool' jack-o-lanterns this year. Especially my daughter, who dragged her 20-pounder in from the back yard, washed off the dirt, and did most of the scooping of the seeds.

She had chosen one of the more difficult patterns: an owl, against a moon and stars. The process for doing these designs is relatively simple, but tedious. Be that as it may, I really wanted to do a good job on it. I've gotten tired of doing the same snaggle-toothed, triangle-eyed faces that we've always done, and if I'm going elbow-deep in pumpkin guts, dammit, I want something out of it.

My daughter really wanted to do it. I kept on telling her she could help. But there wasn't anything, really she could do. This was a job for an adult. She kept pressing for what she could do. I kept putting her off.

Then I saw her face.

It was my face.

It was my face when I was eight, and I wanted to help my dad do stuff, but I was always too young, and too inexperienced, and too clumsy to do the job well. So Dad and my brother would work on it--whatever 'it' happened to be, cars, gardens, woodworking, whatever--and I would 'help' by moving stuff around for them.


It's a pumpkin. Thirty-five cents a pound. She picked it out.

So I gave her the little saw, and I helped her guide it around, and she did a decent job. Not that it mattered. She was doing it, with Daddy.

After a few minutes, she got bored with it, and went off to play. I finished it, and now I'm trying to figure out how to keep the damn thing fresh for two weeks.

Not that it matters.

When she's grown and has kids of her own, my daughter will most likely not remember this halloween. The voice of experience says that most of them tend to blend together. There will be worse thing in her life than the potential of having a jack-o-lantern expire before the 31st.

But if she does remember it, I hope she remembers doing the work with daddy. She won't remember standing by while I did it all myself.

There's an old expression: "When you're up to your ass in alligators, it's hard to remember your objective was to drain the swamp."

Sometimes, when you're up to your ass in parenting, it's hard to remember that the objective is to love your kid.


*Mostly hair and butt-crack.
**A scraper, a punch, a drill, and two tiny saws


Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay, you made me cry, pirate. i'm so glad you realized BEFORE the carving was through what would mean the most to your daughter.

awwwwww. so sweet.

12:24 AM  
Blogger ├ůsa said...

Way to go Dad!

3:12 AM  
Blogger Madame X said...

Keep them in the fridge during the day that should help a bit.

I am sure this will go down as the best Halloween ever!

7:22 AM  
Blogger GC (God's Child) said...


11:20 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

A Tannenbaum is a fir tree (German die Tanne) or Christmas tree (der Weihnachtsbaum). Its evergreen qualities have long inspired musicians to write several "Tannenbaum" songs in German, which we have translated into 'O Christmas Tree,' which is one of the more popular carols that no one knows the words to.

Sorry you asked?


1:00 PM  
Blogger Heidi the Hick said...

Dude, you had me scared for a minute there. I was afraid that you were going to go all Martha Stewart with the pumpkin carving, and then I thought, no, there's no way my Pirate friend would do that because he's thoughtful and creative and really respects other people's feelings.

Good thing ya came through for me, eh!

Seriously, that is the mark of good parenting. You're right, she may not remember this but it'll all get filed away subconsciously. That's what will make her want to call her old man up twenty years from now.

About the hay...imagine loading a wagon full of over a hundred bales into a mow. You do not want to know where the tiny green bits end up!!

4:09 PM  
Blogger Dear Lovey Heart said...

absolutely fantastic

4:55 PM  
Blogger cadbury_vw said...

thank-you for this post

my daughter is 10

5:17 PM  
Blogger AlwaysArousedGirl said...

Sometimes, when you're up to your ass in parenting, it's hard to remember that the objective is to love your kid.

So right you are.

12:01 AM  
Blogger Pablo said...

I wish I had a good father when I was a kid. Your kids are lucky.

7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss read the start and thought you were going Punk hunting...

Look out for the mohawks and ripped jeans BP.

9:12 AM  
Blogger ell said...

i miss when my kids were little enough to enjoy all that stuff...

treasure this time. it goes so fast.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Snow White said...

Great post!!! And you are right, she will remember carving this one with Daddy!

10:00 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Maybe you got the little ones, but the Great Pumpkin is still out there.

Any chance you'd share the photo with us?

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Jessica. Where are the pictures?

Letting your kids do things for themselves does not come easily. I often have to force myself to do it.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Colleen said...

you rock daddy-o

and daddy's are such suckers for the look. yep. makes 'em melt

10:03 PM  

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