Peter, Paul and Mary didn't sing about where the pumpkins have gone, but they should have. There's something inherently sad about a population of these familiar objects that invade markets and non-profit lots in mid-October, only to totally disappear on Nov. 1. It's almost a religious thing, like the Rapture, when all these ribbed globes are called home.They are not among the chosen gourds.
Granted, it's not a total disappearance. Many of them stick around to have their innards scooped out, stirred and beaten and whipped and baked, eventually to re-appear as a pie or cupcake or mini-loaf of bread. Of course some pumpkins stick around for quite awhile, making their way through Thanksgiving and, frequently. as far as Christmas. As pies or decorations. What a way to go.
But wait! There's more. Wandering the aisles of Trader Joe's one Saturday in mid-October, I found an array of pumpkin-connected items. Such as a spiced pumpkin-mango-apple juice blend (I didn't buy it); Joe's O's (their version of Cheerios) with pumpkin enhancements; pumpkin flavored cookies, candy bars, ice cream and soup. I passed through the wine and beer section and spotted several versions of pumpkin ale. I draw the line at raspberry flavored beer. Pumpkin is a step too far. I didn't check out the wine, though I'm sure some winery has seen fit to try that concoction.
Back to The Disappearance. Where do they go?
Here are two photos of Kirkwood Market, shortly before Oct. 31. A festive scene, you must agree. The market is filled with these jolly round characters basking in the autumn sun, waiting to be chosen by some exuberant child or adoring mother.
Now here's the market two days
Kind of scary, right? It's as though they were kidnapped in the middle of the night, after the costumed trick-or-treaters had their bags full of Snickers, KitKats, and candy apples. So, again I wonder: Where do they go? Is it possible that there really is a "calling them home" for pumpkins, much like the Rapture?
Yesterday, having voted with Mary Lee, I was driving through downtown Kirkwood and felt the urge for some ice cream. So I headed over to Andy's Frozen Custard place, intending to get a vanilla soft-serve cone. Here's a special they were offering. A vanilla concrete blended with a slice of pumpkin pie. It has enough calories, cholesterol and sugar to last through Thanksgiving. At least for me. I admit, it was good, but I think once a year is enough.
So what's the answer to "where have all the pumpkins gone?"
Consider these possibilities. They may go to the same place where the Mayan civilization went. Maybe they go to where the folks on Easter Island or Cahokia went. Some other dimension in time, perhaps, or to That Great Pumpkin Patch in the Sky (shades of Charlie Brown). Wherever they go, I hope they're treated gently, with dignity and appreciation. After all, they bring so much color and joy to us on that special holiday. It's the least we can do for them.