This is a project I started a few years back for my kids that I stumbled upon today. It’s written from the perceived perspective of my oldest.
The Gigantic Pumpkin
When Mom told me we were going to pick out Halloween pumpkins to carve, I was like: finally. We had already been asking her for a month. So, she took me and my brothers and sisters to the Mountain Ranch Market and they had zillions of pumpkins there. When it’s Halloween time, they keep the pumpkins in the back behind a sliding door.
Mom first said that each of us could only have a medium pumpkin. So, she was willing to pay for four medium pumpkins and we would all be able to have our own. (Lila is too small for her own pumpkin.) I wanted the roundest one. They’re really pretty. My seven-year-old sister, Larissa, wanted the smallest one because she likes anything baby. Baby cats, baby dogs, baby seals and baby pumpkins. My baby brother, David, didn’t really care what pumpkin he got. He just wanted a one. But Branson, my five-year-old brother wanted the biggest. And he spotted it first.
There, right in the middle of the cardboard boxes filled with pumpkins was the biggest pumpkin we had ever seen. It was big enough for me to fit inside of it. Eight-year-old me! It came up to Momma’s elbow. It was so orange, it almost glowed. And it was the perfect roundness.
We started begging. Branson even got on his knees right away. He opened his big blue eyes and asked. Larissa used her cutest pout and flipped her pigtails. Even David, who could barely talk, gave his pumpkin back to Mom and tried to get out of the cart to touch the gigantic one we had found. We all knew we wanted it.
The other kids were being cute enough that I could see a smile in the corner of Mom’s mouth. We had a chance.
So I stepped in to negotiate.
“You could just spend all of the money on that one pumpkin instead of all four for us!”
“Honey, that’s gonna cost the entire grocery bill,” Mom said. She pressed her lips together, she was still thinking.
“It would be less work. There would only be one pumpkin to scrape the seeds out of!”
“Yeah, you’d have to crawl inside. It would be like a slimy cave. And it would stink. And where in the world would we throw it away? It wouldn’t fit easily inside the trash can.”
Mom was starting to talk herself out of it. She began to turn around.
“We’ll do chores!” Larissa offered. David was hugging the pumpkin with his little chubby arms.
“Pease Momma, pumpkin. I wuv dis pumpkin!”
Branson grabbed her leg. “I promise we’ll do chores! Lots and lots of chores! And I’ll even make David’s bed for him tomorrow!”
“Please Mom! I’ll do anything. Really anything!” I begged.
Her face softened. “Fine, lets see how much it would cost.”
We looked everywhere for a sign or a price tag and couldn’t find one. So, Mom stopped one of the people who worked there and asked them.
“That one is something like $50.”
Mom’s eyes grew wide. “Fifty dollars for a pumpkin?”
“But MOM it is going to be so magical!” I reminded her.
“I’m sorry darlings, I don’t have that planned. We need to go home and talk to Dad and then maybe we can come back tomorrow.”
I knew it wouldn’t be there. We had to buy that pumpkin now if we wanted it to be ours.
We tried to convince her, but even David’s alligator tears couldn’t change her mind. David kissed the pumpkin good bye and we all took turns giving it a hug before we left.
Larissa tried to be so brave, but I could see tears out of the corners of her eyes.
I hung my head down and kicked at the sidewalk all the way to the car. As I was climbing into the minivan, a wad of green paper caught my eye.
There, wedged under the tires, was a dollar. I bent down and picked it up only to realize it wasn’t a dollar bill, it was a fifty dollar bill! Just enough for the pumpkin! It was like magic!
Mom didn’t let us keep the fifty dollars at first. She almost made us go from car to car asking who the money belonged too.
“Of course, everyone would say it was theirs, Mom. Plus, it was stuck under the tire. It had to have been the person who was in the parking spot before us. Mom, they aren’t going to come back for it.”
She sighed. And then smiled. “Let’s go get the pumpkin, sweethearts.”
We squealed and giggled as she unbuckled David. He toddled straight inside. “Pumpkin! Pumpkin!” He called.
We were all so happy when it was still in the the bin. Mom had to call a couple of the guys who worked there to help her put it in the car. We had to put David’s car seat in the back with Larissa and me, then we had to fold down one of the seats and put the pumpkin inside.
It was so big, that every one of us could put a hand or a foot on it all the way home.
If you like the tone of this piece, you might like Flour, Flour Everywhere.