By Nancy Scott
On the Saturday before Halloween in 2017, I was scheduled to work with Angel, my computer wizard. And I would get to stay afterwards for pumpkin carving. But the day would hold many surprises.
First, we decided to drive 20 minutes to the pumpkin patch. I had never seen pumpkins growing.
A hayride brought us to the pumpkins. I had climbed into hayrides in my youth, but thankfully, this hay wagon had steps and railings. It was a beautiful 75-degree day and many people wanted to pick perfect pumpkins. The ride was nostalgic, and the tractor moved us quickly, even around corners.
Angel’s husband, Darrell, already had one pumpkin at home. Pumpkins grow from flowers and stay mostly on the ground. The vines are long and strong and capable of tripping careless people. Darrell spied a white pumpkin (who knew they could be white) and decided we needed it for cool artistic expression.
While out near the pumpkin patch, I heard a loud sound sort of like many rain sticks being tipped all at once. It was, Angel said, grain going into a silo. A dump truck poured the grain onto a conveyor belt which forced the grain to the top, a man near the top of the silo looked through a window to make sure the grain fell correctly.
The other really fun highlight was the hay bale maze. It was actually designed for small children. But teen daughter Eva wanted me to go through it with her. Oddly enough, we’d been talking about mazes on the trip up. Darrell said the gaming wisdom was to always follow the left hand wall.
I assumed that mazes were just for sighted people. Eva persuaded, “I’ll be with you.” Angel assured, “We can watch you from outside, because we can see over the top of the maze. If you get into trouble, which you probably won’t, we can get you.”
In we went. I trailed the prickly, shoulder-height left-hand wall with the back of my left hand holding the cane in my right. I didn’t extend the cane much, because of other people and children nearby.
Eva and I talked as we walked. I forget what we talked about, but I was distracted enough that I kept walking into walls as they suddenly turned. The conversation mostly went, “Oh! That was a quick turn!” and Eva walking behind me saying, “Oh! Right! I forgot to warn you about that wall, too.” We laughed and I bounced off hay bales and tried not to knock over any little kids. We never got lost.
So much of life is risk and quick turns and beautiful sunshine and then another unexpected obstacle but that left-hand wall advice worked like a charm.
Later, Angel and I checked markets and sent submissions. Then we went outside for pumpkin carving. Darrell carved the white one and Eva carved the regular one. Darrell’s had big round eyes and teeth (I know carving teeth shows great pumpkin skill). But Eva’s pumpkin had eyebrows.
Darrell didn’t even draw his design first. But he had a trick which he showed me. He didn’t carve all the way through for the first cut. That way, if he got the proportions wrong, he might still fix it.
What a magical transformation—two people, two knives, two big fruit turned to celebration. I hadn’t seen anyone carve pumpkins since I was about ten years old.
I could sort of imagine candles shining through the two pumpkins’ faces. I could certainly imagine people walking by and envying such carving ability.
I still laugh at walking into all those maze walls even though I had a cane and Eva could see. Maybe I have to practice not being distracted.