Out in the country where my husband grew up, during October there was always a cute little assortment of pumpkins placed at the base of a rod iron mailbox at the end of a neighbor’s driveway for as long as Jeff could remember. All the kids around would go grab a pumpkin when they were out. It was somehow implied that they were free for the taking.
One day, maybe 8 years or more ago, while on a walk with my husband and brother-in-law, we stopped to grab a couple of pumpkins and I said that I was going to go knock on the door and thank them. “Oh, no, don’t do that. Don’t bother them, they know we are taking them, the pumpkins are always here just for the taking.” (It almost reminded me of a scene from Home Alone, how no one wanted to go to the old man’s house nextdoor.)
So, naturally, I knocked on the door. There were Mr. and Mrs. Beasley. The sweetest little old couple you could ever imagine. So grateful for our visit. We promised to come back by with the kids and we did. And every year since. Our visits have evolved into a full on pumpkin patch experience for close to 15 kids now. The Beasley’s adult children have cookies and cider ready every year as we arrive in parade formation, coming from Jeff’s childhood home up the road, with our wheelbarrows and wagons full of kids, later to fill with our haul of pumpkins.
The elder Beasleys have been declining in health the last few years, but when they can, they still come outside, sit in the shade and watch as the children play in their garden. We look forward to visiting them again soon in the next few weeks. It just doesn’t get more small town sweeter than this.
The little Pumpkin Patch sign is one I made in the fall of 2005 using wood items found at Beverly Crafts. On the back are gingerbread-type wood cut-outs that all the kids painted to resemble themselves. I wrote each child’s name under their picture as a thank you to the Beasley family. (LAST PHOTO: Mr. and Mrs. Beasley, sitting)