A visit to my pumpkin patch at the Community Gardens assures me that it is time to pick the pumpkins and haul them on down to my house. Ahh, but the haunting question is… when to pick them? I can’t just choose any day. No, it should deliberately be chosen. And just like that, I have the answer.
Oct. 7 is the full moon, the Hunter’s Moon. That day also is my own Literary Day (I named it myself) as it is the anniversary of the death of Edgar Allan Poe and the birth of James Whitcomb Riley, both in 1849. Now all I have to do is hope for clear skies, and the night is a go.
By 8 p.m. in the evening, the full moon is shining, the clouds are parting, and it is time to pick the pumpkins. I call Kathy and tell her I will be right over to pick her up. I call Aaron and Karen to ask them to take the kids to the pumpkin patch. Aaron answers the phone. ”Now?” he asks.
“Of course,” I say. “The moon is beautiful and the pumpkins are waiting. Perhaps the Great Pumpkin (from Charlie Brown) will rise.”
Aaron humors me, and says they will be there. He is a great son!
I fill a basket with candles and load up the Jeep. Kathy is waiting in her doorway for the evening adventure. When she gets in, I say, “This is a bit like our snowman hunt.”
She, too, humors me.
We drive to the Community Gardens. It is a quiet night, perhaps everyone is home watching the full moon? We meander through the park and stop. I take out the basket of candles, and we weave our way up to the gardens. It is amazingly beautiful. Everything is silhouetted by moonlight. There is a tiny flickering light over in the Circle Hill Cemetery. Perhaps someone has been by earlier to light a candle for a loved one on this night.
Because of the shadows and darkness, I am not able to find my pumpkins at first. I know there has been some mischievous activity out here, so I think that possibly someone has already been here. But, alas, I was in the wrong spot. Kathy finds them first, “Over here,” she hollers into the night. The pumpkins are smooth and golden in the light of the moon, and there are so many of them, of all sizes. I did plant a lot of pumpkins last spring. Some are for carving, others are for cooking for pies.
I light the candles and place them in the patch. The air is cold, and I can see my breath as I speak. I hear footsteps and see a flashlight, and I think it is Aaron and his family, but I am wrong. It is a member of the Angola Police Department. He must think I am the intruder, the thief in the night.
“Hello,” I say, “this is my pumpkin patch.”
He gets closer and shines the light in my face. “Oh, I know you,” he says.
We chat for a bit about the beauty of the night. I thank him for keeping my patch safe.
As he leaves, Matthew and Jonah come bounding into the patch. Pumpkins surround us. I let them take in the moment before I start the poetry. I put my arms around them as I recite Riley’s “Little Orphant Annie.”
Clouds cover part of the moon when I get to the last verse and whisper “…or the goblins ‘ill getcha if you don’t watch out.”
The moment is quiet, and I am thinking to myself that my grandmother never did this! Karen breaks the spell with words of going home and bedtime. I don’t want them to leave, but I know that I am thrilled they came.
Kathy and I watch them go and then wait a little longer for the Great Pumpkin to rise. When that doesn’t happen, and I am not sure what I would do if he did, we just haul some of the pumpkins to the Jeep. I leave a few in the patch for another adventure, another day.
I drop Kathy off, and travel the few blocks to the house at White Picket Gardens. Moonlight bathes my house, and the twinkle lights welcome me home. It is a lovely feeling knowing my back seat is full of pumpkins…even if the Great Pumpkin never came. I close the garden gate smiling.
LOU ANN HOMAN-SAYLOR lives in Angola at the White Picket Gardens where you can find her gardening or writing late into the night under the light of her frayed scarlet lamp. She is a storyteller, teacher, writer, actress and a collector of front porch stories.