October 14, 2007

Possibilities

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One fall day several years ago, I was coming back from a walk in the woods when I looked up at our roof and noticed that it was covered with bits of fruit: cantelope rinds, orange peels, apple cores, the kind of stuff that one might normally find in a compost pile. At first, I imagined that a large bird had flown straight out of a Dr. Seuss book to raid our compost pile and carry things up to the roof. Then I glanced at the footprints in the mud and realized that the culprits were probably the mammals that were asleep on the floor of my living room. When questioned, the gang of boys in the house said, yes, they'd invented a new game. They were using giant slingshot to fling items from the compost pile clear over our two-story house.

"Don't worry, " one of my sons assured me. "It's all biodegradable."

The episode came back to me today, when I was cleaning the front porch. One of the pumpkins I'd bought at a farmstand, a big pumpkin that seemed perfect for a jack-o-lantern, had succumbed to the unseasonably warm weather and collapsed into a soggy mess. Without giving it much thought, I tossed the whole thing into the compost pile and dumped water on the porch to get rid of all the pumpkin juice.

Boy in Black, who was home for the weekend, came in a few minutes later.

Boy in Black: Hey, where did the pumpkin go?
Me: The soggy one?
Boy in Black: Yeah.
Me: I tossed it in the compost pile.
Boy in Black: What? You threw it out?
Me: Were you going to use it for something?
Boy in Black: Uh, not exactly.

He looked like he was about to say something, and then stopped. I could sense his frustration: what do you do with a mother who did not see the fun possibilities in a large rotting pumpkin, who would just carelessly toss it aside? He looked at me kindly, the way you'd look at a small child who simply can't grasp a complex concept, shook the hair out of his face, and continued on his way.

13 comments:

Suzanne said...

I'd love to see what purposes your creative kids could find for a rotting pumpkin!

Rev. Dulce said...

I think we should have a "Soggy Pumpkin" contest. Most creative use for the soggy pumpkin, most funny use, most gross use--you get the idea. Or how about a soggy pumpkin throwing contest.

Tall Girl said...

Glad you got a photograph at least...

Cathy said...

Could it have been a smashing pumpkin? Isn't there a group with that name?
I really would have liked to know what the boy in black had in his thoughts for that pumpkin.

Poor Mad Peter said...

A fellow writer once penned a short story about a group of mischief makers created a sort of compressed-air gun that fired full-sized pumpkins (inflated with air) at targets (like office buildings).

cheesehead said...

I'm so used to that look of pity I hardly even notice it any more!

Kyla said...

But you DID see the possibilities in it. You got a lovely photo and blog post out of it!

YourFireAnt said...

OK. So, where is it today?


FA

Mike said...

What on earth would you do with it? Yuk!

Yankee T said...

I love the tolerant Boy in Black.

Jarod said...

Ah, the old "slingshot items over the house"...I remember those days well.
As a one time mischievous young lad, I can tell from the picture the pumpkin would be useless as a sword target, but could possibly be exploded in some way....

Rana said...

Kyla beat me to it!

Now, though, I'm wondering about what he was considering. Somehow I imagine it involves siblings, sleeping arrangements, and the dark of night.

rae said...

I absolutely love these glimpses into your family life, the teenaged boys, your love for them, the games you all play. Thank you.