Two years ago in ’70, I was feeling a bit nostalgic. It was my first year living here, and I had just gotten my job at the post office. It’s really quite a lonely thing riding that jeep around. Sometimes I have to talk to myself, like if I make a mistake or something, because people don’t even see me bring in their letters half the time. I guess that’s good though, it’s just a lot of time to think, you know? Anyway, I was feeling nostalgic because it was coming up on Halloween, and Mom and my brothers and I used to always carve pumpkins together. Except, Mom always cleaned them, and Pete, Frank, and I would carve them however we wanted, one pumpkin each. Then afterwards, she’d roast the seeds up, and they were damned good.
Out on my route, I’d pass by this farmer’s lot that had a sign out front painted on some plywood, “Pumpkins!!! Jacko Lanterns!!!” it said. I decided about a week before Halloween that I was going to buy a damn pumpkin and have me some damn seeds. No reason for me to be all sad about it, right? So after emptying my deliveries for the day, I decided to come back and see if I could buy a pumpkin from this guy.
I stopped by his place, and the guy was real old and all hunched over and wrinkled, practically ancient. He didn’t have any teeth anymore, and it made it pretty hard to understand what he was saying. He looked like he might have some Indian blood in him too. There are a lot up here. They stick to themselves mostly, but I guess this guy decided he needed some money. So, he walked me out behind his house to the pumpkin patch back there. It was kinda small, but he did have a lot of pretty great pumpkins growing. I saw from the little nubs in the dirt that he had also been growing some corn too in a different spot. I didn’t think about it at the time, but now that I look back on it, all those pumpkins did seem a bit too perfect. They were all about a foot tall and had that beautiful, segmented, beach ball round thing going on. They were all a deep, delicious orange. The kind of orange you’d just want to eat, you know?
They all looked so great! I admit I just chose one at random from the back of the patch near the woods where we stopped walking. I paid the old man a buck, we shook hands, and I carried my pumpkin back to my beat up, old jeep. Then I drove back home. When I got home I felt kinda stupid because I realized I had no idea how to cook the seeds. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember what Mom put on the things that made them taste good. I was intimidated enough by the process that I let it sit for a couple days.