Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween! A Pumpkin Tale

Well, let's see. I have been tagged by OnTheBit with a Ghost It Forward. Now I have not been able to recall an appropriately ghostly story to share, nor have I found (or had time to create with Photoshop) a good, "ghostly" picture but I do have a memory to relate about how we used to get our Halloween pumpkins when I was a kid. So here's hoping this is in the spirit of "Ghosting It Forward".

When I was about 11 or 12 years old and had my first horse, Tally Ho, we used to trail ride all over the West Hills park in Huntington, NY. If I had a buddy riding with me we would even cross the road in front of the stable and go into the wooded land on the other side of the park. 30 or so years ago, you would be able to ride through the woods and not be cut off by the housing developments that now cover much of the land.

One of our favorite places to ride to every fall, was a small farm next to a well-known riding school called Mrs. D's. This farm was next to a boy scout camp ground which is still there today, even though both Mrs. D's and the farm are long gone. The farm was off limits (of course) but there were trails around it if you wanted to ride over to Mrs. D's. However, this farmer would have a very nice crop of pumpkins growing in the back section of the field, right next to the entrance to the trails that led to and from Mrs. D's.

We would ride over after school, being sure to wear our nylon school windbreaker jackets. You know - the kind with the snaps up the front and the drawstring around the bottom. When we got to the edge of the field, we'd dismount, snap up our jackets and pull the drawstring around the bottom tight and tie it. Then we'd collect as many small pumpkins as we could find and put them in our jackets. The jackets acted as a "bag" to hold them next to our body. Then we'd take off our helmet and choose a pumpkin the size of our head and put it in the helmet, using the elastic chin strap as a handle to loop over our arm. (back then, that's what passed as safety headgear, LOL. Even funnier is the irony in that we were riding bare headed in order to protect our prize pumpkin!)

Now, the challenge that you had to do all this and somehow scramble back onto your horse before the farmer noticed what was going on and sent his dog out after you. Visualize the drama of trying to climb onto a horse with a jacketful of pumpkins, while trying to keep another pumpkin in your helmet as it's dangling from your elbow by the chin strap! Now imagine a barking dog tearing across the field after you and you can imagine what the horse is doing.

Did it EVER occur to us to have one guy dismount and get the goods, then hand them to the guy on the horse to do the jacket stuffing? Nope, because then in your greedy, pre-teen mind you'd only be getting half as much loot!

If we managed to do all this and get back to our barn without mishap, we'd proudly display the smaller pumpkins on the wooden ledge that was in front of each stall to hold brushes. It was like a badge of courage to have them there because everyone knew where they were from and what you had to do to get them!

Ah, good times.

Every autumn when the air becomes chilly and the leaves change color, I think of the pumpkin raids. So I hope you've enjoyed my not quite a ghost story but definitely in the spirit of the season!! (I'm not sure who to pass this one on to from here, perhaps I'll let the ghost rest here until next Halloween.)

1 comment:

OnTheBit said...

Theif!!! That was a great story though and def. worth the wait! I think you need to buy a little pumpkin and put it in front of your boys stall now as a reminder of how much fun it is to have a horse!