An Oasis of Tradition (and some Cathartic Pumpkin Carving!)

pumpkin 3 escape adulthood

Courtesy of

pumpkin 1 pumpkin2So this isn’t a generic pumpkin-carving post. It’s about how carving pumpkins, in additional to being entertaining and leading to some pretty cool jack-o-lanterns, can be cathartic too.

Ma with pumpkin

Ma, enjoying the process of carving out her pumpkin’s eye, LOL

Consider this picture of my dear, very sweet, normally-without-a-violent-bone-in-her-body mother about twenty years ago, when we were carving pumpkins out in the back yard. She’s having a good time carving her pumpkin’s face…and maybe getting out a little aggression too, LOL. My father is clearly enjoying the moment, too.

Pa and Mary with pumpkin

Me and Pa another year, with finished pumpkins on the front steps

Year after year, we’d all have a good time, and it’s an example of the kind of fun I’ve tried to create with my own kids as the years have passed.

Traditions are important. They provide a little bit of something to count on, year to year, when the landscape and the world keeps changing around us (as it inevitably does). We have these moments to recreate and fall back on, to re-center ourselves, bring us back to our roots, and reclaim a little of all the different times in our lives that we participated in them.

Of course traditions come in all forms, whether for other holidays, birthdays, or just things like apple-picking or preparing favorite recipes. Sometimes they are the bridge between people who have drifted apart, giving them a reason to reconnect.

pumpkin and mary

Me around 25 years ago, sitting on the top of the “school bus shelter” Pa built at the bottom of the driveway, kept company by a giant pumpkin and the little orange cat my parents took in

I love traditions, and I’ll probably be writing more about them – at least the ones I’ve cherished – in the future. But for now, since we’re at the end of October, I’ll stick with this one. Although time marches on, our traditions only have to disappear or change if we want them to.

What are some of your favorite autumn traditions, whether for Halloween or not?

2 thoughts on “An Oasis of Tradition (and some Cathartic Pumpkin Carving!)

  1. Ah, Pumpkin carving. I remember it fondly. They all turned out crooked and I usually wore most of the innards but I wouldn’t change those memories for anything. 🙂 Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad to have triggered some good memories! As I get older I enjoy those walks down memory lane more and more…it’s one if the reasons I wrote my first contemporary book, to get some of those times down in some form (even fictionized) on paper. And I still like to carve pumpkins. 🙂


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