Three Great Pumpkins

It was a cold November day last year when Annabelle, Charlie, and Bumble had finally tossed their old jack-o-lantern out back in the hedgerow. They were sad to throw it away because it had become much scarier as it started to sag and shrink and grow mold.

That spring as Bumble buzzed along looking for daisies, he was surprised to discover a huge green vine with huge bright green leaves.

"What could it be?" he mused.

"Annabelle, Charlie, come here! Come see this amazing great big huge enormous vine!" Bumble called out excitedly.

The two friends raced over the meadow to see, and after much puzzling, Charlie the Goose solemnly stated, "We seem to have here a specimen of Cucurbita or what is more commonly known as a field pumpkin."

Bumble and Annabelle's jaws dropped in amazement.

With a new respect in her bark, Annabelle told Charlie, "I had no idea you knew so much about plants, Charlie. That's impressive."

"Well, flying around I see lots of gardens and farms. And, Halloween is my favorite holiday."

"Cool," said Bumble, "but how did it get here?"

"Well," said Charlie, "I think this must be our old jack-o-lantern, Scary Face Missin' One Tooth. I think we threw him right about here last winter."

"Hoorah!" yipped Annabelle. "Think of all the jack-o-lanterns we can make!"

Charlie added dreamily, "And think of all the the toasted pumpkin seeds. I love pumpkin seeds!"

Annabelle and Bumble laughed because Charlie really did love pumpkin seeds. In fact one year he had eaten so many seeds he made himself sick.

Spring turned into summer and the vine produced big orange blooms that Bumble carefully pollinated. Tiny green pumpkins followed these. Charlie the Goose kept the pumpkin patch weeded and the friends watched closely through the summer as the pumpkins swelled. Annabelle was appointed watchdog and she kept a careful lookout so that nothing would eat them.

As the days grew cooler the three friends noticed that the leaves were changing colors and you could now see spots of bright reds and yellows among the green.

"It won't be long now," yipped Annabelle who watched every day to see the pumpkins turning more orange and getting bigger and bigger. "The apples from our tree are almost ready to pick too. This is going to be a wonderful harvest!"

The week before Halloween the friends agreed to meet at the pumpkin patch bright and early to choose their jack-o-lanterns.

"I want that one over there," honked Charlie. "It is a little lopsided and I think it will be cool to make my monster face tilt like that."

Annabelle chose the very largest pumpkin. She wouldn't tell what her jack-o-lantern was going to be and only mysteriously hinted that it was something most dogs try to avoid.

Bumble buzzed, "I've had my eye on that little one. It is perfectly round and will make a terrific honey-stealer head."

"A honey stealer. What's that?" asked Annabelle.

"A bear, of course. We bees think they are verrrrrrry scary," replied Bumble.

The three friends spent the day drawing and redrawing and measuring and carving carefully until the big moment arrived. Dusk. When the sun is setting and the first fireflies flash.

Bumble and Charlie were very curious about Annabelle's jack-o-lantern, wondering what a dog might think was scary. Annabelle wouldn't give them any hints and wanted them to be surprised.

Charlie raced to finish his monster so he could toast pumpkin seeds he'd carefully saved from the pumpkins when they were hollowed out. He happily bustled about rinsing and baking and salting and of course, munching his favorite tasty treats.

That evening the three friends lined up their jack-o-lanterns neatly at the door of the tree house, each with a candle lit inside. Annabelle adding hers last so Bumble and Charlie wouldn't see it. Bumble, They climbed down and stood back to admire their handiwork.

"Whowzers!" shouted Bumble. "These are amazing."

"I've never seen anything quite like it," agreed Annabelle.

"Wow," mumbled Charlie awe-struck. "Wow, A scary bear, a monster, and a huge angry cat all made by three great friends out of three great cucurbitas!"

Happy Halloween!

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