It was a beautiful fall day for pumpkin carving. The weather was unusually warm, but the crisp air remained the ways of autumn. I opened the french doors to welcome the slight breeze as I see the pile of multi-colored leaves on my back porch. This was the last weekend prior to Halloween, we had to pick up our pumpkin today. We were excited to go find the perfect one.
So, we hopped in the car and went to the local produce stand. We walked around the trailers full of large pumpkins. In no time at all, we found the perfect one. We were thrilled about our find as it was not too tall and perfectly round. I could see the joy in my son’s smile and the way his eyes lit up. Then, we decided to pick out two smaller pumpkins to join the other. My son picked out one that was tall with a thick stem and mine had a skinny curly stem. Then, we went home with them to get carving.
After getting done some much-needed chores, I gave my son a pen and had him draw the face that he wanted. I thought it looked too small to cut, so I asked for a redo on the opposite side of it. However, it was best to just stick with the original design. I thought his attempts were adorable as I patiently waited. After, he finished making his face, he explained, “It’s a Minecraft face. See it’s square. Oh wait! I need to draw the hair!”. I chuckled admiring his cute idea to detail. So, he proceeded to draw the square hair. After he finished, I tried to run the plan in my head of how I was going to cut out this design while avoiding accidental removal of detailed parts.
Then, I prepared the surgery by placing a tote lid, my carving tools, cooking spoon and trash bag on the back porch. After I placed the pumpkin on the tote lid, I opened up the top of the pumpkin. Every year, my son expresses his disgust of the insides of the pumpkin. He braved the yuckiness while scooping up the seeds and the walls of the pumpkin with a cooking spoon and bare hands. We both had came to an agreement that using our hands were more effective.
After, we got all of the pumpkin guts removed, I began the carving. I took my little carving jig and started with the hair. Last year, I stabbed my arm with one of the those carving knives – stupid I know – but we laughed about not having a repeat of that moment. I was pleased with how smooth it was going this time around. I tried to remain focused as I heard the sounds of my son playing in the background. Loving the imagination as he creates a story with a tree stick and garden shovel. I got lost in the moment. I was loving the weather, the teamwork, the sounds of laughter, the simple play with nature and the smoothness of the work. The moment just seemed perfect, yet it seemed to pass too quickly.
Viola! It was finished! It was almost flawlessly cut out to the lines of his drawing. However, I did have to leave a skinny neck to hold the head in place. I was proud of myself for..well not messing it up. My son walked over and leaned in to take a closer look. He smiled, “It looks great!”. I could tell that he was thrilled about seeing his creation come to life.
Now all we needed was to wait a little while longer for night to brighten the candle inside. Once darkness started to shadow us, we stuck a tea candle inside and lit it. The face started to glow. It was a bright sunlight orange peeking through the shapes of triangular eyes and crooked teeth. It was slightly misshapen, yet it was beautiful. We worked on it as a team and it was another holiday tradition marked off for the year. To him, it’s a pumpkin. To me, it’s a memory.