I had a great time at teh Sooke Fall Fair, although it was a brief time! Chasing around a nearly-two year old meant it was a blitz! But the kid's baking and lego won some ribbons and I got a few first places for my stories (plus one third!). Since I don't know what else to do with this one, I'm sharing it here! It's not my usual MO, since it's a wholesome family story with a slight magical twist but enjoy!
The Best Pumpkin Patch
Mr Weisman lived next door, a wizened old man with a long beard and oversized nose. He was often seen in his bathrobe and slippers as he shuffled around his vibrant garden filled with wrapping vines and tangled bushes.
On occasion, he slipped Bobby seeds from his garden. Bobby planted them in sidewalk cracks and beside roadways. No matter how thin the soil, the tiny flowers grew in purples and pinks, blues and yellows, providing colourful flashes in a grey landscape.
One year, Mr Weisman gave Bobby pumpkin seeds. "They need good soil. Like a vegetable patch."
The vegetable patch in their yard exclusively belonged to Bobby's mother. Bobby could play anywhere else but was forbidden from entering the garden except when sent to retrieve a dinner item from the meticulous rows. Every vegetable had its place, year after year. Each row was planned, scheduled, and maintained. There was no space allotted for pumpkins.
Bobby tucked his seeds through the back fence of the vegetable patch that night.
The first green sprout appeared a week later. Bobby listened from his high window as Mother cursed the little green leaf and pulled it. Her brow creased in irritation, then she glanced over her shoulder where Mr Weisman's amazing garden reached up his fence and house, the passionfruit flowers climbing vivid butterfly bushes and decorated by red ivy. She tossed the vine into her basket and went back to her hoeing.
The next day, the sprout had returned, twice as long.
Losing no time, she pulled it out, reefing until the root gave. Satisfied, she tossed it into her basket, brushed the dirt from her flower-patterned gloves, and nodded firmly before returning to her immaculate rows.
The next day, the back fence of the garden patch was covered with lush, green vines and umbrella-like leaves. Already there were two green gourds forming. Mother attacked it with her hoe, cutting and tearing until every scrap of the greenery had been found and removed. She shoved her curls back under her handkerchief on her head, smearing dirt on her cheek as she recovered. The rows of carrots and beets were not weeded that day.
By morning, it had all returned. Now four pumpkin were hidden along the fence, each showing orange.
She marched down like a soldier heading to war, trimmers and rake over her shoulder, kicking her weeding basket ahead of her.
Bobby met her on the path, staring up at her with wide, pleading eyes. "Can we have pumpkins this year? I want to learn how to grow them!"
Mother shook her head. "We don't need pumpkins. They're useless!" she told Bobby. Every vegetable in her garden had a purpose: peas for summer snacking, carrots for dipping in humus, beets and spinach for stew, lettuce for summer salads…
"But they make nice jack-o-lanterns," Bobby replied so quietly, she could hardly hear him.
Her frustration went out in an instant. She swept her eyes over the vines and leaves that had taken over the back half of her garden patch. Then her eyes fell back on her son. "You planted this?" she asked.
Bobby nodded mutedly.
She slowly lowered her rake. "You want pumpkins?"
Bobby shyly smiled and nodded.
She let out a breath and put down her trimmers. "Ok. Let's see what grows."
That year, the pumpkins came in bigger than any seen in Sooke before. Bobby chose the largest for his jack-o-lantern, so big he had to climb in to finish scooping it out. He made sure Mr Weisman got his share of the roasted pumpkin seeds.
D. Lambert, author
Fantasy novels that entice, inspire, and entertain.