There are five kid’s birthdays in October in my immediate family. Celebrating each one separately is an impossible feat. This is why we combine birthdays for the family… and they have their separate parties with their friends.
The past few years, we’ve embraced the Fall birthday season and go pumpkin picking followed by dinner and cake. We like to make it a full day and since the age range for the birthdays fall between six and seventeen so there’s a little bit of something for everyone.
It’s interesting to see how inventive of the local businesses are when latching on something that’s going to improve their bottom line and extend their season. More power to them, they got me through their door.
We went to a Food Market/Garden Center near my sister’s home. Our group of a thousand (okay, twenty-three) met at the designated time. My sister, otherwise know as the Martha Stewart of the family, came prepared with thermoses full of apple cider for the kids and perverted apple cider for the adults (you know, cider with a little extra fermentation… wink, wink).
Once our group assembles (that task in itself is a small miracle, we live within a hundred mile radius of each other so time coordination is essential) and we sip our magical cider we’re ready for the hayride. There’s nothing like squeezing twenty three people on the back of a tractor pulling a wagon with bales of hay as the seats. After a “scenic” bumpy ride through a parking lot, past a few greenhouses full of other birthday parties, you go through a very small corn field on your way to the mythical pumpkin patch.
Charlie Brown gets the credit, but it’s really Linus Van Pelt who made me appreciate the magic of the pumpkin patch. As you get closer and closer to the Pumpkin patch, your heart races. Childhood dreams of picking the perfect pumpkin fresh off the vine dance in your mind.
You see yourself walking through long rows of vines, searching out the pumpkin that calls to you, will it be perfectly round? Oval? Misshapen and with a little personality? (Like Linus, I uphold the belief that pumpkins have personalities. Don’t judge me). You know you’ll recognize the right pumpkin the moment you lay eyes on it.
You pass on the corn maze because you can’t wait to meet your special pumpkin (besides, the corn has only grown about 3 ft. tall, making more like a stroll through some corn than a maze). Finally the tractor pulls up to the patch. You take a deep breath, this is it. You feel it…the green of the vines, the crisp brown edges of the leaves as the vine dies away for the season.
Here’s what I always envision, pulling up to the Magical Pumpkin patch.
Here is the reality of our magical journey. Stunning, isn’t it?
(Cue the booby prize music)
An open dirt field, with crushed pumpkins randomly scattered among the others.
Not exactly the dream. But the kids were happy. I own my special pumpkin grown just for me. And everyday until Halloween I will tell my husband “We really need to carve this into a jack-o-lantern” and never will.