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Pumpkins and punkins

Pumpkins are never on my radar until October. But then boom! I'll remember how much I really like them, maybe partly because they make me smile and because they're so resilient. First incarnated as friendly or fearsome jack-o-lanterns, they're fun until the end of October. And then deconstructed as plainer ole pumpkins, they can be perfectly beautiful marching toward Thanksgiving. That pumpkin patch can be decorated lots of ways. Or, shoot, you can even eat 'em! That is nothing but win win.

I'll tell you something else that's win win. Years ago, fall was unbearable, really, because it led up to November 26, the day my husband died. If you've read "Hey, God? Yes, Charles.", you know the angst and the agony of my 2007. But in the intervening years, I've had lots of intervention. Heavenly at times, of course, but also plenty on the ground - kids and grands, girlfriends and guy friends and good friends who aren't hesitant to dig up old photos and good memories. Family and friends who remember way back when October led to November which led to Thanksgiving with wonderful gatherings before anybody was absent.

Over the years, that same family and friends have created new traditions - yes with nods to some empty chairs - but more with gratitude for all we've had, and still have, with each other. Like the pumpkins of October and November, these guys - kids, grands, other family, friends - these punkins of my heart - make me smile and they have staying power. Win. Win.

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