One thing I detest about Fall is that so many poor pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns get kidnapped from their porches to be smashed unmercilessly* in the road. For some odd reason I have a particular affinity for pumpkins, so to see mangled and run-over pumpkin bits in the street makes me sorry for both the pumpkin and whoever owned the pumpkin. I should probably also admit that this shenanigan happened to me more than once as a little girl, so I know how traumatizing an experience it can be for a child.
This year I was given three pumpkins by a very generous friend who grows them herself. One is a sugar pumpkin, which I intend to bake and make into bread. The second pumpkin is about the size of a basketball, and then the last one is about the size of a large grapefruit, or maybe a small cantaloupe. Or at least it was.
The grapefruit/cantaloupe-sized pumpkin started to rot early for some reason, even though I hadn't carved it. Its skin was getting soft. I put both it and the bigger pumpkin out by my porch to be festive (you couldn't really tell from a distance that the smaller pumpkin was rotting). They sat there for a few weeks. Finally, I decided I needed to do something with my poor little rotting pumpkin.
You know how sometimes when you see a spot of mold on your cheese or your bread or some vegetables left in the fridge you just leave it there to see what the mold will look like as it grows? Well, I had this vague idea that it would be neat if I could watch my little pumpkin as it rotted. With that in mind, I removed it from the porch and put it on a small tree stump behind the garage. It's a very hidden stump, out of view of everyone except my downstairs neighbors, and then only if they go out their back door (which they never do).
Unfortunately, my downstairs neighbors had a party one night. It was quite a party. It involved all sorts of interesting chemicals and substances, and when I came home around 12:30am there were people wandering randomly around our yard, and even into our neighbor's backyard. It was… quite a party.
The next morning as I looked out my front window I saw a smear of orange in the road. My first thought was that it was a pumpkin, but it was way past Halloween, and my own pumpkin was still intact on my porch (I checked), so I figured the smear must be leaves. I didn't give it much more thought after that. As I left for work, however, I noticed that my little rotting pumpkin was not on the stump behind the garage, and the truth hit me: it was a pumpkin in the street, and it was my pumpkin.
I wonder what it is about my pumpkins that scream, "Take me! Throw me on the asphalt!" Maybe it was because it was soft and rotting. Maybe they figured it had been forgotten and they were helping me out. Maybe they were drunk.
Maybe I should stop leaving my pumpkins on the porch.
*Did you know that "merciless" and "unmerciless" mean the same thing? Weird, huh?