Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!!!

The best thing about living in the Northeast is the definition of the seasons.  As much as I would love the summer to never end, there are quiet moments when I notice in the morning that the air has changed. It is crisper and more vivid.  During the month of August, I go through a roller coaster of emotions, "I wasted the summer being me", I wrestle with the "I should haves". The summer dies, so to speak,  and the fall is born. I adore the smells of kitchens busy with fruits of summer harvest. As much as would like the fast lane to never end, at some point the quiet solitude of hibernation seems very attractive.
   When I moved to the Northeast, I was young and I could not appreciate the seasons, I was too busy trying to be "me", I missed it, or rather, I did not appreciate it.
     Now, time has a habit of catching up to you and your eyes are open.  WOW!!!, is all I can say, the trees are creatures of their own habits.  This year is truly a wild ride.  The hills are ablaze with reds,oranges and yellows, and I can say, I hear you Mother Earth!!, you have announced the advent of winter.  At times I wish, when I was younger that I could notice the subtle changes. But my life was too noisy with jobs, children, and family.
   The one holiday that I adore is Halloween!!. The two holidays that I actually decorate for is Halloween and Christmas.  Halloween means to me the doorway to rebirth and rejuvenation.  Sure, there are those that can argue that Halloween represents evil, but that is their interpretation.  To me it is honoring those that have went on without me.  What better way to celebrate their lives than give them their own day.  It is unfortunate that death is associated with skeletons and evil. 
   When I think of Halloween, it conjures Pumpkins!!, the kind that you trudge through the muddy terrain to find, in fact it is the "Great Pumpkin", the one gourd that is worthy of your company.  The perfect spectacle to your holiday!!! Most people do not realize that the gourd you carve to welcome the trick or treater's is also a very versatile player in the root cellar.  It is known as the winter squash and can reach a weight of over 75 pounds.  Most parts of the pumpkin are edible; the flesh, seeds, leaves and even the flowers.  It is boiled, baked, steamed and roasted. It plays a role in all of holiday dinners.  Pumpkin has a honorary seat to every Thanksgiving feast. The classic pumpkin pie, the one time that Cool-Whip is appropriate.
But as we are stuffing our faces on the holiest of stuffing days, let's remember that pumpkins were once believed to relieve freckles, they have zero cholesterol(that is important for all us "old farts"), low salt and contain beta carotene that helps prevent certain types of cancers and helps lower the risk of heart disease , and the seeds help to reduce the risk of prostrate cancer.
   This is the gateway to the holiday roller coaster.....we get on and we all hope that we can stay on till the end, so much is happening, family, friends, co-workers, etc.  But in the end when we open our eyes each morning we remember the crisp air and vivid mornings when the hope of a fruitful spring is a distant dream.

Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.~ Voltaire

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