And, oh, the memories that come back, year after year . . .
My father is a wonderful gardener. He can coax life into anything, and he has a soft spot for pumpkin pie.
So we grew pumpkins. About this time of the year, the pumpkins were carried and rolled into the house, along with the anticipation of what they’d bring.
My sisters and I would go to work. We’d cut the pumpkins open and dive our hands into the slimy middle. We’d pull and rip and scoop, building mountains of stringy goo and seeds.
While we cooked, peeled, and blended up pumpkin, our brothers gleefully extracted the seeds from the mountain on the table.
What is it about boys and gross things? We’d hear whispered comparisons followed by chortles of laughter and slimy hands stuck in our faces.
Ah, lovely, lovely memories.
But then the next phase came. My brothers washed and then boiled the seeds in salt water, while we made pie crusts and pumpkin filling.
The seeds were oiled, salted and baked on cookie sheets. Sometimes we tried different seasonings. My favorite included Worcestershire sauce.
Then we’d put the pies in the oven and the house filled with a plethora of smells.
Now it was time for the feasting.
Nothing builds anticipation like several seasons of planting, weeding, harvesting, processing and baking. And on a blustery day, nothing tastes as good as pumpkin pie and pumpkin seeds.
So here I am, grown up with my own family. I still enjoy making pies from scratch, especially when the weather grows cold. But I haven't had any luck growing pumpkins. The one year I succeeded, my single pumpkin was the size of a tangerine.
Luckily, there are grocery stores. And I laugh every time I pick up a can of Libby’s Pumpkin. The problem is, they forget to can the seeds.