A Pricey Pumpkin


by cheri sabraw

One early morning last October, before Dawn opened her eyes, a mean person took a Sharpie pen and wrote hateful words on one of my pumpkins.

Halloween was approaching; my pumpkins–each so heavy that only with help could I roll them into the trunk of my car–sat in two arched stucco windows within our gate, signaling to passersby that someone who lived in the house down the driveway was celebratory.

That someone is I.

That one delightful pumpkin, once a symbol of a spooky night to come, now looked like an overweight trashy squash, consumed and tattooed by local rats with hate in their eyes and vengeance in their hearts.

In all of our years of living on the road, never had such a creepy thing happened.

This event changed me.

The first order of business was to have a bright light installed in the venerable sycamore tree whose sweet-tempered branches sweep down to gate. High above her waist, on one of her sweeping arms, now perches such a light. Step into its range, oh little barb of malicious energy and poof! What was once night is now day.

After the electrician left with his check for $275.00 for shimmying up the sycamore and installing the motion detection light and after several weeks had passed, something in my police scanner of a thought-process told me, ” Cheri, so what if you illuminate your gate entry?”

The vision of that October pumpkin, tattooed with hate speech, symbolic of impending crime, filled my dreams. I simply could not cope with anymore random acts of meanness.

“I want a security camera that records everyone or thing who or that comes within a twenty-foot radius of all future pumpkins, “I announced a month ago. “Now that Elsa and Udo, our trusty Rottweilers, who would have surely scared the living nightlights out of whomever defaced my pumpkins, are dead and buried, we need a security camera, “I repeated.

Again, we called upon the grace and unselfishness of our sycamore tree. Again, she answered, allowing strangers to place a large domed and futuristic eye high in her curls.

Now, I have a monitor in my house, recording all activity at the gate. Suffice to say, this technology is not cheap.

Now, I can watch the Judge  put the trash cans up by the gate on Sundays nights.

Now, from Starbucks Coffee Shop, I can tap on my iPhone app and see exactly WHAT is going on at my gate which, other than an occasional squirrel or a wayward turkey, is absolutely nothing.

But my child inside remains in tact–exuberant and ready for next Halloween.

Image 1

About Cheri

Writer, photograph, artist, mother, grandmother and wife.
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15 Responses to A Pricey Pumpkin

  1. Bring it on! How dare they? They prevented the orange globular being from returning to the sweet Thanksgiving pie!

  2. Cyberquill says:

    I generally don’t use Sharpies, but I’d run out of spray paint that night.

  3. Brighid says:

    That sucks, and cuts into your sense of well being. They must not be bright enough to know you are a pistola pack’n granny and it behooves them not to mess with you

  4. Richard says:

    If you have an erection on a highway it is important to have it well illuminated, as TGJ knows full well.

    How does it help, though, to watch your sycamore hewn down and motion detector disabled? If that happens, you’ll have time to finish your coffee.

    Next Hallowe’en, use Cyberquill’s head instead of a pumpkin. That’ll be enough to deter any evil-doer. Rather like a head spiked on London Bridge – always seemed to work.

  5. Richard says:

    And if it’s any comfort to you, remember evil rats on no star live – especially if they’re palindromic.

  6. Cheri says:

    So–i have decided we should all play scrabble online. I have two accounts. They are apps.
    You can play Words with Friends or Scrabble. Both are free apps.
    My words with friends screen name is A Ladybug Named Dickens.
    My Scrabble name is Cheribabu.
    See you all soon!

    • Richard says:

      I sense an expert on the prowl for victims.
      I have an eight-year-old grandson who thrashes me every time he plays me at chess. So what chance do you think I’d have playing Scrabble against a cheribaby or a ladybug? None at all! And I have to win.

  7. Cheri says:

    Oh yes..the origin of Cheribabu…
    I meant to be Cheribaby but hit the wrong key.

  8. Christopher says:

    The composer of the words on this pumpkin was merely exercising his First Amendment rights.

    Hence, to the extent that you make it more difficult for him to etch his words on future Halloween pumpkins, you infringe the exercise of these precious rights under a constitution whose freedoms have been the envy of liberty-loving peoples everywhere for over three-hundred years.

    What might the Founding Fathers say if they could observe you as you install cameras and lights in order to trample on hallowed constitutional rights over which they had laboured so long and so lovingly?

    I hardly dare to think.

  9. Man of Roma says:

    It is all very mean. Technology is ok (and powerful) but buying two more Rottweilers wouldn’t be a bad idea either (I know, dogs can be very tiresome). Age is advancing in every one of us and we are becoming more fragile, physically and psychologically. Let us renew ourselves and be resilient until the end. Amen.

  10. Cheri says:

    Absolutely, Man of Roma. I am hereby renewed.
    No more dogs, after Dinah. Too much work.
    The Rottweilers were more effective than any alarm or camera.
    But, alas, they are buried across the creek and sleeping well these days.

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