Monday, November 1, 2010

Jack of the Petit Dumpling

I carved myself a Hallowe’en pumpkin on Sunday. It’s been years since my hands have laid a knife to squash (for purely celebratory reasons, that is) and, you know, it felt good. I wasn’t planning on doing it. In fact, I told a friend a few days ago that I had no plans for Hallowe’en whether that be decorations, trick-or-treaters or crazy faced pumpkins. I live in an apartment, I said, no children live here. Besides, I am on the upper floor, decorations in my window would mean nothing. Jack-o’-laterns are for others to enjoy as they pass by your door, it would be for naught.

I didn’t think about what I had said until two days later, the eve of Hallowmas, when I realized that by saying “it would be for naught,” I was saying that I was unimportant: that my gaze upon a thing of beauty, well, sort of beauty, meant nothing. It was a subtle sort of self negation. Can I not create just for myself? Am I not worth it? Enough, I said, and got up from my comfy chair and walked to the store.

Now 5pm on Hallowe’en is not the time to start gathering pumpkins. We are all out, my local IGA man said. What, I exclaimed, no glossy jacinthe fruits of the vine? No, deeply painted nacarat or lurid shells to carve I asked? He started to back away. Oh come on, I said, what about saffron or even, yes, even a faded ochre husk that cries out to be cut (yet ever so creatively) open? Too late, he had inched his way back behind the boxes of Poptarts and Lucky Charms, lost forever in the land of pastel fantasies. They just don’t hire grocery clerks the way they used to.

I halfheartedly steered myself towards the root vegetables. Perhaps, I thought, maybe, I prayed, please I begged, let there be another form of marrow that will tickle my fancy. And, sure enough, there among the petit pan and carnival, the buttercup and golden acorn was my little wannabe Jack — a flavescent petit dumpling with splendid stripes of glaucus and a subtle croceate. I grabbed him by the nape of his stemmish neck, paid my $2, and ran home with visions of devilment dancing in my head.

It took less than five to perform the lobotomy and, after a few moments of decisive pondering I quickly slashed left, then right and scooped a bit there. An evil eye now watched me as I gave him a leer and pronounced him complete. With a strike of a match, my homunculus was born: a beautiful creation for a person of beauty (uhhh, that would be me) to perceive. Happy Hallowmas to you all!


  1. lovely and poetic. i will never look at the pumpkins same way again.

  2. A plethora of interesting words, very descriptive!! Shall we expect some type of pumpkin bread perhaps?

  3. Pumpkin bread! But what would Jack say?? Thank you both for the comments... and Carla, how are the youth programs going? For anyone else reading this, click on Carla's name and check out her website... she is doing great work empowering girls through working with horses.

  4. Thank you Jo-Ann and what about Peter too?? Thanks for asking about the program. We begin our first of the 5 week program on November 20th for our 10-13 year old girls. Meeting with lots of interested organizations and hoping to talk to many more parents. It is going to be fabulous! You are welcome anytime to visit the gang for some horse love....