Seasonal Reflections

Scott drove the knife down, and Caroline wailed, “OW!”

“It’s a pumpkin. It can’t feel a thing.”

“I still think it hurts.” She glowered at him while he finished cutting out the lid. He reminded me of my grandfather, measuring out from the stem as he carved.

On the other side of the patio, I was still jabbing around the pattern on Sam’s pumpkin, and Sam himself was standing on a swing shouting, “I hit an iceberg. The Titanic is sinking and we haven’t got enough lifeboats!”

I said, “Chewie, go save Sam.” But the dog rammed his nose into my armpit, far more interested in the possibility of pumpkin treats than in saving his kid.

Scott scraped out the first pumpkin’s guts without comment. Then, he handed Caroline a small knife.  “Here, you do it. Just saw back and forth.”

Slowly, Caroline took the handle and began whittling around the eye she had poked into the flesh a few minutes prior.

I started in on the other pumpkin’s guts, my arms blossoming mottled red, just like Poppa’s used to when he carved with us in his living room.  Scott said, “I didn’t know you were allergic to pumpkin.”

“Well, raw pumpkin anyway. Poppa couldn’t have it raw or cooked. I’m still OK with pumkin pie.” I schlocked the last of the seeds and stringy innards onto the pile of newspaper.

Caroline announced,  “I’m done.”

“Caroline, you’ve  only done three ticks.” She’d only sawed through three of the poker holes, he meant.

“But this pumpkin’s heavy.”

“Look, here’s how you do it.” Scott moved the pumpkin out of her lap and put his hand over hers, guiding the motion.

“Oh. That’s not so bad.”

Sam materialized beside the dog. “The Titanic is down,” he reported. “She has sunk beneath the icy waters forever.” He paused. “Can I help?”

I gave him both fleshy orange lids and the plastic poker. “Make me a dot-to-dot square right there.” I pointed to a place I had already outlined in pencil.  While he worked,  I hacked his ghost into being with a smaller, sharper pumpkin saw.

A few minutes later, Scott took over for Caroline to get a tight part, but then he handed the job back to her once he had rounded the corner. I finished carving the ghost without once breaking through the back wall, so I scraped away on the inside, thinning until the ghost began to wobble.

Caroline said, “I’m stuck again.” She was still on the first eye.

“Here, watch this.” Scott brought out a motorized saw and pushed the button for a dramatic braap of sound. He jabbed the pumpkin. The saw stopped. “Oh. Nevermind.”

“I guess the blade’s dull.” I snagged the poker, stuck it into a ghostly eye socket, and twisted.

“Did you ever replace it replace it at the end o f last year?” He studied the implement.


“Nevermind. Don’t answer that. Caroline, we’ll just continue the old fashioned way.”

Sam finished outlining the chimneys. I told him, “Go throw the ball for Chewie.”

But he said, “The Titanic just came back up,” and headed back to the swing set, leaving me with the nosy dog. I popped the ghost’s outline free.  “Do you want me to finish yours?” I reached for the other pumpkin.

Caroline said, “That’s OK, Mom. I’m doing fine all by myself.” And indeed she was, still patiently sawing on that first eye while Scott shook the electric saw as if that might somehow sharpen the blade.


About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Seasonal Reflections — 39 Comments

  1. Jessie, I swear I just want to scoop Sam up and keep him forever. He sounds so incredibly special and magical. Honest.
    Caroline has such patience and determination with that pumpkin! I’m proud of her. Plus you and Scott? SAINTS.

    I love the way you told this, because it is a glimpse into MY house. It’s familiar in the emotions you show, but the characters are new.
    I love your stuff.
    P.S. Nice pumpkins.
    P.P.S. I swear I didn’t mean for that to come out nearly as creepy as it did. Haha.
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  2. I enjoyed this but it made me sad. It reminded me of all those years of carving pumpkins. One thing I don’t miss is the fear that one of the kids would stab himself or put a slice in a finger!
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    • The secret is to poke a pattern into it first. And you should — I would love it if yo uturned one of your col pictures of a spooky house into a pumpkin.

    • Haha! My husband more so than me .I love pumpkins, no matter how frustrating. Poor Scott feels about the pumpkins as I feel about Christmas trees. We each endure the one for the other.

    • I hope I never get caught out like Poppa. But if I do, he taught me an important thing:

      have a gay neighbor who makes a damned fine sweet potato pie.

      I’m not sure if he would have worded it that way, but I KNOW it was Victor who made a sweet potato pie that tasted just like pumpkin.

  3. Carving pumpkins sounds like such fun. I’ve never done it. We’re foreigners you see and Halloween is all new to us. My little one (8) wants to carve this year. I think we might have to.
    Lovely pictures.
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    • Oh do! The secret is pumpkinmasters. There’s a .com, but they are cheap in stores, and you can make these really REALLY cool pumpkins REALLY easily!!

  4. I’m glad to know that my daughter and I aren’t the only ones who get itchy from pumpkin guts! They turned out great! Happy Halloween!
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    • Sam can be an absolute RIOT. I really thought Caroline was going to give up, especially at first, but then she got in the groove or figured out “hey, they gave me a KNIFE man” and got with it.

  5. This reminded me that our 2 year old would probably enjoy watching some pumpkin carving. She’d probably like to actually carve the pumpkin herself, but she’s a little young for knives. Maybe I’ll get a mini pumpkin too and she can poke at it with a baby knife.
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  6. Delightful family interactions. Love reading stories about the amazing group of humans (2 and 4-legged) who inhabit your home. Your way with words is inspiring.

    • Thanks Diane! Chewie is the world’s best neurotic dog. When Scott was out of town awhile back, he waited until 10:15 (which he seems to think is the latest time that Scott is ever entitled to get home. He teaches night classes) and went berserk!!