I peeped through the window blinds this morning like I do every morning this time of the year. They were still there, and nothing appeared to be out of place.

I will check on them later, I know I will. Most days I go to the windows a couple of times during a day for the explicit purpose of ensuring that everything is as it should be.

I am really not worried that someone would steal one of them, even though it has happened. I am not concerned about their longevity. But one in the past started to decay, and it had to be replaced before I was ready to let the season pass.

Once, some mischievous boys walking past my home on their way to school could not resist the temptation of having a little fun. They smashed a couple on the bricks. It didn’t upset me. Boys will be boys and I simply replaced them by the time they passed back by in the afternoon.

I love pumpkins and everything about the autumn season. It used to be that I could not wait to run by the Pumpkin Patch to pick out my big orange, porch and yard decorations.

My sister loves to tell everyone about me dressed and in my heels stumbling around the Pumpkin Patch on South Irby Street attempting to find the most perfect specimen grown in some farmer’s field.

By the time I was done with my pumpkin selections, I had solicited the help of three men working at the Pumpkin Patch. I had them hold pumpkins up and turn them so I could see them from every angle. I would have them move a dozen to get to one I spotted in the middle, only to reject it for another that caught my eye elsewhere in the huge piles of pumpkins.

My sister and my nephew watched and laughed from the car. I am sure the men working there tell their version of the story about the crazy woman who showed up every year to look at every pumpkin in the patch.

I have streamlined the process in my later years. My birthday is in the month of October, and when my husband inquires about a birthday gift he can give, I respond with delight. I want pumpkins. He lays the seat down in the back of his Jeep and heads to the farmers market.

This year I received 12 pumpkins of various sizes, and I had a wonderful time adorning and decorating my porches and yard. He patiently endures my neurotic obsession with having them look just right and turns them, as I stand back and look, so each one has their best side showing from the street. I know, that’s a little over the top, but I love pumpkins.

When I was a young woman and still in college, my Uncle Jack planted some in his garden. I only remember him growing them that one year. He told me that when they ripened, I could have all I wanted. I remember it as just a bunch of green vines that magically transformed when the vines wilted in the autumn and exposed these big orange pumpkins. Looking at his pumpkin patch excited me.

As a teacher, I managed to work pumpkins into the curriculum. One year, I purchased 30 tiny pumpkins, and with a marker I wrote each student’s name on one and put them on display. A few days before Halloween, I allowed the students to take their tiny pumpkins home.

My husband does not share the same enthusiasm about decorating the porch and yard with pumpkins. He sees it as something that makes me happy, and a happy wife is a happy life.

When he thinks pumpkin, he pictures a pie. When the Christmas season arrives and you get done with decorating for fall, we can make pumpkin pies, he suggests.

I’m a bit shocked by the comment. I haven’t looked at my pumpkins that way. As much as I like bacon and sausage, I am not sure I could eat a pig I raised as a pet. I like steak and hamburger, but my cow would be off limits. Likewise I am not sure I can eat a pumpkin that has adorned my porch and given me so much pleasure.

A pie might have to come from Freeman’s Bakery. I love my pumpkins.

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Dr. Darlene Atkinson-Moran grew up in Olanta. She always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She is retired from the education profession and now resides in Florence with her husband, Michael. Contact her at citizencolumnist@florencenews.com.

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