Nothing quite like a pumpkey making a mad dash in the middle of the night to cause you to reconsider all your dearly held beliefs.
Yes, I said pumpkey. It’s a real word. Or maybe I mean turkin?
What would you call a pumpkin that turns into a turkey after you poke in a few painted metal spikes?
The idea is a pick-up on one introduced just a couple of years ago — gourd faces. Perhaps you’ve seen them. Gourd faces, which I bought into, are kind of like tree faces except you poke the various parts into a gourd, obviously, instead of a tree. They make for adorable porch decor. Except don’t leave them on your porch. Unless you like cleaning up gourd innards from same.
Had I any wits about me, I’d not have had to learn the extra-hard way that these all-natural, 90 percent disposable decorations are not what they seem. Coming home just once in a previous year to find a squirrel having his way with a pumpkin in the middle of my porch — and displaying zero table manners — should have been my cue. But no. On some level I must have enjoyed sweeping up all the orange splatter left for me after the culprit bolted. I tried reasoning: “Well it’s yours now, guy! Come back here and finish what you started! Clean this mess up!” But there was no talking to him. Or to me. Because for some reason I foolishly tried again the following year but with the gourds as the new porch decor. Turns out squirrels enjoy those, too, and get even sloppier with them.
So none of this explains why I returned home from a weekend away this year with a “tin turkey” in my baggage. What does explain that is a sign that read “50 percent off all Halloween and Thanksgiving” only two days after Halloween. The Halloween part I get; that’s the beauty of two days after any holiday. But a Thanksgiving clearance a full four weeks ahead of that holiday? Well now this was surely a gold mine, and let the panning begin.
Yeah, good luck. Turns out “Thanksgiving decor” really doesn’t exist anymore. And I know for a fact it once did. A friend’s kitschy light-up, dancing turkey, a sister’s tiny pilgrim figurines and a brother’s turkey-shaped salt-and-pepper shakers dressed like hunters are all time-honored, jealousy-inducing proof that this holiday used to get at least some of its domestic due. Try to remember that time in November when candy canes and sleigh bells were just silly when you could have dancing turkeys and pepper poured from pilgrims!
Or did I mix up my trinkets?
No matter. Relics now, all. An entire bin full of 50 percent off “Thanksgiving” and all I could come up with was a set of metal pieces you push into a pumpkin to turn it into a turkey? Deja vu all over again.
Sometimes in life, though, you take what you can get. Or you live by this principle: If at first and second you don’t succeed, go for broke a third time. ‘Tis what I told myself as I pushed metal wings and legs into a pie pumpkin late one recent night outside while the rest of the neighborhood slumbered. I also told myself something was not quite right but pressed on, ignoring the obvious fact that the little tin legs certainly didn’t appear designed to support the weight of even a pie pumpkin. But I forced the issue. Meaning I forced the teensy legs into the holes of a meshy tabletop, hoping my first true piece of actual Thanksgiving decor might actually hold.
And hold it did. From about midnight until 2 a.m., the precise hour when out on the porch there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my couch to see what was the matter …
Away to the door I flew like a flash, and, well … Let’s just say the moon on the breast of the new-fallen pumpkey/turkin/what have you gave no luster of anything to the mangled, mutilated object below.
Raging at the night, I cried out to the invisible sleeping squirrels. Where are you now? Clean-up in Aisle 85, dudes. Free food again. Come on, you guys owe me this one.
No dice. But at least now I officially accept all this jumping the gun on Christmas.