Stratford-born Kris Schlotzhauer opened AO Pasta on Erie Street in…
I was heading back to the car from doing some shopping, and I watched a mom as she watched her two kids — boys four- and six-years-old or so — race over to a very large display of pumpkins sitting shimmering and golden-orange outside of the grocery store. It would be hard to estimate, but I would guess that there would have been easily hundreds of pumpkins.
The kids’ shrieked and whooped exclaiming, “Mommy! Pumpkins!” It forced me to turn around and take a look. I’m glad I did.
In the double-take, I stopped and stood and looked at the pumpkins. Soon, most of them will be jack-o-lanterns with an odd few sadly ending up smashed on Devil’s Night.
I’m glad I stopped and looked, and I encourage you to stop — for just a moment in a busy day — and reflect on an enormous pile of pumpkins ready for sale, or out in a field somewhere where there may still be a few stragglers, like the ones pictured above.
Mom had grabbed a few smaller ones and headed into the grocery store with her sons. For a few moments, the area in front of the store was free of people, and I stood and just stared at the pumpkins.
They were beautiful.
They triggered all kinds of memories and anticipations of this coming Halloween. The feel of shiny smooth surface. The rough, rope-like stalk so gracefully arcing out and away from the body of the pumpkin. The smooth blending and seamless transition from green to that golden orange.
The way the sunshine bounced off them.
I thought of cutting them open the afternoon of Halloween, the rasping sound of the toothed pumpkin knife, the smell, the gooey stringy inside. Roasting pumpkin seeds with lots of salt. I recall instructing my kids about cutting the little notch in the jack-o-lantern lid, so it is easy to find the right positioning to put the top back on after lighting the candle inside. I hope that my kids will instruct their kids similarly: “Remember to cut the pumpkin lid notch,” I hope they say.
So, here’s the thing: don’t just rush by that big pile of pumpkins at the market or grocery store in the next week or so. Take a moment to stop and take a really good, long look at the pumpkins.
Think about what they mean to you.