Great Pumpkin Massacre

'Twas the Wednesday before Halloween and all was just dandy; parents ready for tricks and their kids ready for candy. Yep, I'm afraid it's that time of year again, as we prepare for the invasion of little folks garbed as everything from goblins to presidential candidates, and it looks like it's gonna be a spooky week.

I know that the stores are already brimming with Christmas stuff and all the Santas are busy practicing their "Ho-ho-ho-ing" for the attack of the shoppers, but lets get one season out of the way before the other arrives, please! The way Christmas keeps moving up, pretty soon it'll be normal to see Santa and Frosty and Rudolph among the trick-or-treaters. And I can see how easy it'd be to mistake one of Santa's workers for somebody's kid out hunting candy door-to-door.

"Hey kid, are you supposed to be a Vulcan with those ears? An elf?! Oh, sorry, my mistake. Got any of those Keebler cookies?"

I remember really looking forward to Halloween back in the day. My friends and I would dress up and invade the neighborhood and come home with enough edible loot to give a set of false teeth some cavities. Some of it was homemade stuff like brownies and Rice Krispy treats, or fresh fruit. Of course, I'm talking about before the days when the whackos started putting drugs and razor blades in what we took home. It's a shame that so few have all but ended this tradition for so many.

Some of my fondest memories are of the Halloween Carnival held at Nocatee Elementary School, which had gone on even when my dad was a little boy. Most of the town turned out, plus many more from throughout the county for the good food, costume contests, haunted house and games like the fish pond, sponge throw and apple bobbing. I used to enjoy it because I'd get to see so many folks that I knew all in one place and catch up on everyone's news. That's how we did it BFB (before Facebook).

My big Halloween tradition now is the Wilson's Annual Pumpkin Massacre, founded many years ago when my daughters decided that we should do surgery on a pumpkin. We've butchered some every year since then without fail ... and this year was no exception. So last Thursday at Daughter No. 2's house we spread out the newspaper, grabbed some buckets for the "pumpkin guts" and knives for the surgery. Three of my four grandchildren were there, plus Granddaughter No. 2's beau and Daughter No. 2's beau with his two daughters, so you can just imagine that messy massacre.

No two pumpkins looked alike, once all the slicing and dicing and whacking and hacking was over with, and that was after the dipping/scraping out of icky pumpkin guts. Those WPDs (weapons of pumpkin destruction) were put to good use, and a good, gooey time was had by all. And of course we put candles inside each and got some photos of the kids with them. What made it special fun for me was to watch so many young folks have such a great time participating in an age-old activity, rather than sitting around with their faces and brains buried in cellphones.

Then on Sunday, Grandson No. 1 (who was missing for the earlier massacre) brought a pumpkin over, and we chopped and scraped it up good-fashion. Pumpkin carving is so inexpensive, but becomes a priceless memory over time, reminding us of when life was simpler, safer and sweeter. Even without all the candy.

Y'all have a safe and fun Halloween and make some boo-tiful memories!


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