Feelings of Fall & Pumpkin Love ~Bobbe

I think it’s interesting how our tastes grow and change through the years as we age. As a child, what I loved most about Fall was the smell of burning leaves. We lived in Virginia (where burning leaves in residential neighborhoods used to be legal) for a while.  I can vividly remember the excitement I felt when I’d see my parents raking leaves into a pile near the road.  That always meant a fire was imminent! I adored fire! (Still do.) Oh, the excitement of a bon fire of burning leaves! I loved everything about it; being outside; the flames jumping; the smoke billowing and that fantabulous, magical aroma! (Why don’t they make candles that smell like burning leaves?)

One would think as a child I’d have been most excited for Halloween, but I was never that interested in dressing up or trick or treating. I was always embarrassed being dragged from home to home carrying a bag, begging for candy. Of course, this is perhaps the result of the one year Halloween fell on a weird date. My parents had something to do that evening, so they left us home with a sitter who decided it was okay to watch a double feature of, “Buried alive” AND “The Birds” in front of a 1stgrader. (I had nightmares for years.) The very next night my mother had my sister and I dress up in our costumes. After we put up a huge, screaming, “LAST NIGHT WAS HALLOWEEN!” protest, my mother, insisting the news said it was okay, sent us out to trick or treat with my father. We went to exactly two houses before my Dad was tired of the "Um, you're an idiot" stares of our neighbors wondering why on earth we were at the door dressed in costume when Halloween was clearly the night before. Thanks Mom. (Yeah, come to think of it, chalk that one up to my life long distain for trick or treating. Ha ha.)
Moving into high school and college years, who among us didn't look forward to Fall for football season? I went to an all-girl Catholic High School, so we spent our Fall weekends selecting the perfect outfits to wear to the games. Aside from dances and mixers, it was the main way we got to practice our favorite activity, chasing boys! If the object of our latest affection didn't happen to be on the team, we'd spend the entire game just wandering around hoping to get a glimpse of the person we were crushing on (or looking to meet someone new.) Then once the games were nearing the end, our focus switched to where everyone was going afterward. Ah, it takes so little effort to close my eyes and remember the excitement in the crisp, cool air. It was THE social activity of every weekend and if God forbid, one was grounded and couldn't go, it felt like the end of the world. (Thank goodness I was a perfect kid and I was never in trouble for any reason. Cough. Cough.)

When my daughter was a wee tot, I loved to dress her up in adorable costumes, hand-made by my Mom. She loved animals so much she was nearly always some type of puppy dog or tiger or wild cat, however, my favorite was when she was two and wanted to be a pumpkin. She'll hate me for this but I have to share:

Let's all say it together, shall we? AWWWWWWWWW!

One item that appears in Fall that never gets old for me is my old dear friend, the pumpkin. As a child, I loved pumpkins so much for two reasons; the anticipation of carving a Jack-O-Lantern and fire! My Mom always made us wait until the afternoon of Halloween to carve our Jack-O-Lanterns, which made it an extra special event. (See, Mom wasn't always scarring me for life at Halloween-just the one time when I was a first grader.) I loved drawing on the face, then scooping out the guts, then cutting out the face but my favorite part? Lighting a candle, dripping the wax down inside the pumpkin and then quickly planting the candle into the hot wax to set it. (Pyromaniac party of one, your table is ready.) Yes, the absolute best part was lighting that candle, then turning off the light to admire my work...and the scent of the pumpkin flesh burning a little...what a delicious scent!  (Another candle scent idea?)

Even though my daughter is now 28 and has her own home, I still go out early in October and buy the pumpkin! These days I have ceramic ones that go outside, but I never miss a year of getting at least one (usually three) real ones. Pumpkins make me happy. Fall makes me happy!

I love the way even though Fall is the time of flowers dying and trees losing leaves and imminent cold weather, it still feels like a new beginning.  These days, the crisp, clean air of Fall brings back all of the memories of days gone by. Every single slightly chilly breath unites me with the experiences of the past and the experiences yet to come.

Come to think of it, I think I feel a little pumpkin carvin' in today's future. A little roasted pumpkin soup is on my mind. (I guess I never got over that delicious smell of burning pumpkin flesh?)