Have I mentioned I’m super excited about fall?! Okay, maybe once or twice. It’s my favorite time of year. I have the best memories from these next few months and I wanted to see what memories you had. I asked what you’re favorite memories are and got some great responses. My best friend Sarah from Pastry and Promises shared a great story about finding Bob. It made me smile from ear to ear! I hope you get a little grin too.
Until my sister was about 4 or 5 years old I didn't really associate "fall" with anything other than coming home from another summer visitation with my dad and the start of a new school year. Sure, we did the whole Halloween thing, and we dutifully drove to Lincoln, MA for Thanksgiving with the grandparents, but everybody has a similar routine and it didn't really strike me as all that special (not that I'm knocking free candy- I just didn't think twice about it). It wasn't until we started taking Laura (my younger sister by 7 years) to Simmons Farm in Pittsburgh, PA that I really started to build an idea of what family tradition should be.
If you've never been to Simmons and you happen to find yourself in the Pittsburgh area in October-go. It's one of the more beautiful places I've ever been. Immediately upon driving in there are signs for "pick-ur-own" apples. Keep going and you'll pass a cute little petting zoo, followed by a barn attached to a greenhouse, where you can buy all kinds of delicious butters (apple, pumpkin etc) pies, ciders... In the greenhouse they've got a jack'o'lantern display and lots of fun activities for the younger kids, and if you keep walking you'll end up in line for the hay ride, which takes you to the pick-ur-own pumpkin patch and giant corn maze.
All of this, in and of itself, is enough to make Simmons a wonderful family retreat each October. What made it memorable for me was, as I said, my sister. Laura is a very creative kid. She has always been one to name and attribute back-stories to every living creature and inanimate object she's come across. Pumpkins were no exception. One year- I don't remember which- she named her pumpkin "Bob" (an incredibly dull name from a child who would later name a fish "Aloysius the vicious fighting fishus"). Bob was tall and thin- the exact opposite of the behemoth that I prided myself on finding every year. We took him home, washed and carved him, and the year progressed. Soon it was October again, and once more we packed into the car and were off to Simmons. We got to the pumpkins and Laura was off. She wandered here and there, turning over pumpkin after pumpkin. I had taken all of 10 minutes to find the biggest, fattest pumpkin within eyesight, but Laura kept searching. Finally we asked, what's wrong with all of these other pumpkins? What kind are you looking for, anyway? She answered simply, "I'm looking for Bob." Much like the Great Pumpkin, Laura had decided that Bob was a reincarnating pumpkin- her reincarnating pumpkin- and it was her duty to find him and bring him back to his proper home. Thus began our quirky family tradition. Every October we drove out to Simmons Farm to find Bob, the reincarnating pumpkin. He was always there, waiting for us, tall and skinny.
I'm 26 years old now, married and expecting my first child. My sister is 19 and recently moved back to Pittsburgh to attend CMU. It's been almost a decade since our family made that trip out to the farm, but at the mere suggestion that she might want to go with me to look for Bob again, Laura squealed like the 5 year-old she once was and declared that Bob had to be found once more. I guess there are some things that you can never outgrow.