Maybe because my last name is Pumphrey which I admit is quirky, I have had an affinity for pumpkins since I could remember. Pumpkins are never called Humpkins but I have been called Mike Humphrey for more times than I can count. I am not sure what the allure is for the golden gourd, which used to come in only one color. Now orange is still the color of choice but there are now white, blue, warty (a hybrid cross with a diseased looking gourd) and sizes from almost micro pumpkins to the 1300 pounders.
Simply stated by this “Autumn Lover”—pumpkins make me smile. My three to four times a week drive to Greeley takes me on the NW Parkway. There is still some farm land on that route and in 2017 during my first year, I noticed two big fields to the south in which probably 80 acres of pumpkins were planted. Sure enough, when mid-September came the vines died off to reveal a “pumpkin extravaganza”. It was a self serve pumpkin patch, which sometimes had dozens of folks looking for the perfect pumpkin. After Halloween there were still thousands of “unchosen” orbs lying out in the field. What came next were the cows.
My now departed farmer friend from Pueblo filled me in on pumpkin farming. Mind you, that during the high holy days of October, DiSanti Farms sometimes sends two semis a day loaded with pumpkins up I-25. Nearly every year of my 18 at South Broadway the truck dropped of a couple of huge bins as a donation. This is a paraphrase of what Jimmy told me about pumpkin farming. “It is the easiest thing we raise. You water them maybe three times, and as long as you don’t get hail they raise themselves. The harvesting is a bit hard because it is all hand work. What we don’t harvest we turn the cows loose on. They love those things. In one week there won’t be a pumpkin in sight”. You beef lovers just think you are gettin ‘corn fed’ beef— be ware you burger might taste a lot like a Pumpkin Latte.
Which now leaves me to the ‘vegan pumpkin cheese cake’ I just consumed. I am not much for coffee creamer but ‘pumpkin spice’ will get me every time. I am a pie lover and pumpkin will often be my sin of choice. MK makes a mean pumpkin bread and granddaughter Sofia is a pumpkin muffin consumer.
One of my favorite memories of church fun were the nights that a group of us would gather to carve up about 30 pumpkins. We used them to decorate for the organ “Spooktacular” that we held for years in that beautiful South Broadway Christian Church historic Victorian sanctuary. The Great Hall smelled of pumpkins for days. To have almost three dozen Jack-O-Lanterns in that space in which a brilliant organist (Frank Perko, also from Pueblo) preformed, with an overflow crowd, filled my Pumphrey/ Pumpkin heart. We had 9–News there to show that even churches know how to have fun.
I am not much of an artist. I got a ‘circle-D-Minus’ in wood shop. I think I got maybe a C— in Metals. However, you put a pumpkin on a table in front of me and my inner Michaelangelo comes out. Well, I might not be that great but I have made more than one Jack-O-Lantern that brought smiles… after all, that is what pumpkins were made for.
Onward and Upward, Mark