The boss has a rule about holiday decorations. Before the Christmas wreath goes on the door, the pumpkins must disappear from the front steps. This is a good rule. Pumpkins are fine decorations for Halloween and Thanksgiving, but by Dec 1 they have served their purpose.
Dec 1 is a fun day at the compost pile. That is the day I get to smash pumpkins. I lug them to the rightfield corner, seize a shovel, and dash them with the blade until nothing remains but pulp. Having taken out my frustrations without committing so much as a misdemeanor, I shovel them into the pile.
Naturally, the pumpkins have seeds. And what finer place for a seed to germinate than a compost pile?
This spring, I noticed a peculiar weed sprouting among all the other weeds. "That almost looks like a pumpkin leaf," I thought.
I don't know how I knew that, or where I've seen pumpkin leaves. I'm a city guy, I buy a couple of pumpkins from the Boy Scouts in October, and that's the extent of my pumpkin knowledge. But somehow, the vines looked like pumpkins, so I left them alone, curious to see what they would do.
I had low expectations. My friends who grow edible things always seemed shocked that their crops didn't die from something...lack of rain, too much rain, rabbits, Japanese beetles...and they know what they are doing. I don't have a clue when it comes to vegetables. I figured the pumpkin would be a nice little novelty for a couple of weeks, and didn't really think beyond that point.
Well, the pumpkin vine grew. And grew. And grew some more. It now hides the compost from view, which is good, but it is threatening to engulf the bench and the forsythia. No doubt its little pumpkin brain harbors even grander ambitions. I confess to feeling a bit nervous when Andy goes near it...he's a big cat, but that's a REAL BIG pumpkin. Those tendrils scare me.
But what to do? Like Victor Frankenstein, I've given life to the monster. Now it's got these giant school bus-yellow flowers and all I can do is watch in fascinated horror as it annexes more and more of the garden with a vengeance that would put both the Soviets and kudzu to shame. Whatever happens, you can bet that on Halloween night I'm going to call Linus and we're going to sit in the pumpkin patch and wait to see the Great Pumpkin rise against the night sky!