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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



Notwithstanding the cold north winds and the fact that football season is half over, there are few other signs of the pending doom we call winter here in the Midwest as are the last great harvests to come from our gardens this time of year. Just after the first good frost they appear like magic, the giants that you rarely tended and just ignored as they bloomed and grew and appeared like magic. I’m talking about pumpkins and squash.

There is something about squash that makes it one of those love/hate kind of things. Either you’re for squash or you’re against it, there is really no middle road. Growing up I remember squash as one of those special meals that we kind of wrinkled our noses at but gobbled up as if it was some magic cheesecake that we had never tasted before. My favorite way of having it cooked was sliced in half and covered in butter and brown sugar where you scooped it out of its skin like you were eating ice cream from a bowl.

In fact, I didn’t know that there was any other way of eating it, until I got married and the in-laws made what was called Aunt Fanny’s squash which was almost sacrilegious to me as it was like mush with crackers in it. It’s saving grace I suppose was the fact that there were crackers in it, so I pretended it was the cream corn casserole that my mom made when we were kids and ate it right up. To the in-laws squash was a fancy “towny” substitute for potatoes, which of course were there on the table as well, right next to the cranberry sauce that was the kind that had the real cranberries in it. Of course to those of us who grew up on cranberry sauce that had to be in the shape of the can this was one of those things I could never quite get over.

And what of the lonely pumpkin, with its tough outer skin? To be a pumpkin would be a hard life I would imagine. To have millions of your family plucked one by one from the fields and carted away only to be set up on a stack of unfolded newspapers while young children practiced their best mass murdering stabbing motions into you. Once you’ve been good and stabbed, your head is cut open and your innards scooped out with hands and a spoon while the face carved into your side grins out in a very macabre way.

After that you are set outside in the cold with a candle inside of you to last until you are long forgotten and your body collapses in on itself. It really is a gruesome end to what must have seemed a peaceful life out in the fields. To make matters worse, the rest of you gets turned into a pie that has to have some sort of whipped topping to make it palatable to most people. Oh the shame of the pumpkin, no one really every takes that into account on Thanksgiving Day do they?

Regardless of how it turns out, the lonely squash and pumpkins are a sure sign of the end of those warm but pleasant days and the first real shot you have at knowing that soon the car will be cold until you are almost to work and the sky will be full of little frozen water droplets. But again, there is always time to think of the warmer weather that is to come in the spring and I’m sure when we start planting the garden there will be little seeds for squash and pumpkins thrown it. See you next week…remember, we’re all in this together.