The day is gray.  The breeze is up because we are about to get drenched by the remnants of a tropical system that is winding it’s way up the Atlantic coastline.  We need the rain. The trees have yet to reach their colorful Fall tones and the rain and cooler temps will help move that along.

I turned up the radio, rolled down the windows and found the broken yellow line that leads me to open road and a route far West of home.  I’m heading to the pumpkin patch.  These old country roads are full of history.  The signs point to old Civil War sites if you turn right.  Off to the left is the old C & O canal where mules and barges moved commerce in another time.  I pass the fields where the corn stalks from this past summer yielded crunchy, sweet  Maryland corn.  Now the tractors have cut them to the ground.  The fields wait to be turned over and put to bed for winter.

I’m walking now, pulling a more modern version of a little red wagon, headed for the pumpkin patch.  Some years this farm plants the vines way out in a pasture, far from the scales where your pumpkins are weighed and paid and finally put in the back of the SUV.  But this year that’s not the case and I’m looking at pumpkins of all sizes and shapes and colors just a short walk away.

It’s just me.  I am alone in the pumpkin field.  Alone with my thoughts of all the years this trip was something Leroy and I did together.  We loved picking out pumpkins.  We picked a lot because we needed them for our annual Halloween party.  Pumpkins became shrimp bowls.  Pumpkins became scary creatures lit-up by flickering flashlights.  Leroy was a master carver.  He’d be covered in stringy pumpkin innards by the time all the pumpkins took on personalities to match their new faces.

This year I picked two perfectly shaped orange pumpkins, one splattered with green streaks and another giant white pumpkin.  I’m ready for the season.

The pumpkins are in the car now.  Secure, so they won’t roll with the curves in the road as I make my way home.

I find the broken yellow line, the open road and the good memories of times in the pumpkin patch when the Big Guy was by my side.

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