The pumpkin head is for the feast of Stephen, Sire!

If you know me at all, you know that the inside of my car is a disaster. I believe our entire CD collection is on the floor of the car, along with every gas station receipt and candy bar wrapper we’ve accumulated over the past two years. There are many tissues. Some are unused. Others are not. (I know!) I think there’s a wrench set in there somewhere. Also, several barrettes. (Just in case.) I’m missing a can of Lentil soup. I’m sure it’s in the car.

A few weeks back, I found myself driving to the grocery store in desperate need of the ingredients for punch. (When you’re attending a late night yarn store party, it’s sort of silly to NOT fill a gigantic punch bowl with pineapple juice and frozen fruit and whatnot, right? You know it!) Anyway, I scored a front row spot, made my way into the store, grabbed my punch stuff, and carried my bags out to the car.

Please know that it was a windy day. Super windy. Blustery, even. (And I don’t throw “blustery” around very often, my friends.) When I opened up the back of the car, a (mostly empty) pumpkin head from Halloween got caught in the wind and flew out. And because my reflexes are spot on (seriously—throw a basketball at my head sometime and see how fast I duck!), I quickly brought my leg up with the lofty intention of kicking the head back into the car. (Because I’m doing it all for Slobo Ilijevski these days. And in my mind, I’m a lot more athletic than I am in your real world.)

As you probably guessed, the pumpkin head did not make its way back into the car. In fact, I kicked the goofy (now empty) thing UNDER the car, where it slowly rolled to a stop dead center—out of my reach from all angles. As I finished packing groceries into the car (and picking up the stale boxes of Milk Duds from the parking lot), I hoped that the wind would somehow catch the head and blow it out. No luck.

It was then that a really perfect thing happened. The Salvation Army Red Can Christmas Man showed up for his bell ringing shift. And as he set up his station and started singing (Yep. He’s one of THOSE Salvation Army Red Can Christmas Men.), I slowly closed down the back of the car and put my keys and iPod in the front seat.

“Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen! When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even!”

(This is where I dropped to my knees on the driver side of my car.)

“Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel, when a poor man came in sight, gathering winter fyoo-oo-el.”

(This is where I dropped my head down to the ground and began slithering snakelike under the car—slowly inching toward the pumpkin head and trying my hardest to not get my coat all dirty. Hey wait. You do remember that I’m parked in the front row, right? Yep. Right in front of the Salvation Army Red Can Christmas Man. As I’m typing this for you, he’s probably sitting around with his family telling his side of the story. “And all I could see were too legs sticking out from under that car! Woo hoo! Gold!”)

“Hither, page, and stand by me, if thou know’st it, telling, Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?”

(Yeah. I’m still over here squirming around under the car in the style of the yonder peasant. I’m still five inches away from this damned pumpkin head! My cheek is rubbing against the parking lot, which is just as good as microderm abrasion, right? I’m crabby, yet I know that this entire scene is my own fault!)

“Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain; Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes’ fountain.”

(Got it!!! I got the pumpkin head! And now I’m doing the backward army crawl on my elbows with my arms tightly wrapped around it! I will NEVER let my car get this cluttered again! Do you hear that, 2009?!)

“‘Bring me flesh, and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither: Thou and I will see him dine, when we bear them thither.’ Page and monarch, forth they went, forth they went together; Through the rude wind’s wild lament and the bitter weather.”

(And, victory! I bounced up and lifted the pumpkin head over my head Stanley Cup style for the Salvation Army Red Can Christmas Man to see! And he looked a bit relieved, because he really HAD been watching my feet jerking around from under the car. And he kept singing, because when you know all of the stinkin’ words to Good King Wenceslas, you really DO keep on singing them, because that’s quite a thing, don’t you think? (Personally, I’m Wikipedia-ing the heck out of those lyrics right now!) Before jumping into my car and driving away, I yelled something ridiculous like, “I got it! This pumpkin head! Mine! A-HA!” (I don’t remember my exact words, because they were so cringe-worthy that my brain is helping me block them. Lingering humiliation and whatnot, you know…)

And I know you want to know if the pumpkin head is still in my car.

Of course it’s not.

(Yes. It is. I know.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

15 thoughts on “The pumpkin head is for the feast of Stephen, Sire!”

  1. Susan, it’s a very good question. I was afraid the pumpkin head would blow away while I was maneuvering the Hyundai around, and I didn’t feel like having to re-park the car and then run full speed for the head. Believe me, it was a very calculated decision.

  2. Haus–The party was SO much fun. (And the punch was good, too! I’ll send you the recipe if I can find it again.) The party went from 6:00 until midnight, and we had hourly games/drawings/etc. until The Big Midnight Giveaway, which was a huge project bag. (You can see the project bag here: Thanks for asking!

  3. Funniest post of the year, FP! I can *so* see that Salvation Army guy, eyebrows raised to the hilt, wondering what the heck was going to come out from under that car. A few lingering questions need to be addressed, however.

    1) How dirty *did* your coat get in the process? (We’re talking winter in St. Louis, yes? I’m guessing the ground of a parking lot might have been just a bit…icky at this time of year.)

    2) How does it happen that you had the presence of mind not to reflexively lock that door once those keys were safely located on the front seat? (I was *so* sure that would be the punchline of this story!)

    And 3) Milk Duds? What do your kids have against Milk Duds that they lasted un-eaten all the way through December? Plus (bonus question-within-a-question here) how is it that they had not already been consigned to the “Leftover Halloween Candy Cookies” which should be a holiday family staple for everyone with little kids?

    And finally 4) What have I done to incur sufficient ire that you would wantonly imprint that whole entire song in my brain *right* after I thought I was done with all the holiday music soundtrack stuff? (Grrrr!)

  4. Your car should meet my car and go on a date together. Perfect match of messiness. I have five pairs of shoes in the backseat- just in case. Instead of walking them the ten feet from my parking spot then into the house. I leave them there and forget I own them.

    (While cleaning out my trunk to fit junk inside the day of my wedding, I found my bathing suit, my peacoat and one of Tom’s shoes)

    I think we need to create a craft project for those receipts. Everytime I look at my floorboard I am reminded that I eat out WAYY to often.

  5. I would have left it. Seriously. If its been in your car for 2 months, the kids aren’t going to miss it. If they ask about it, “I don’t know where that old thing is, but look, a deer!” always works for me.

  6. Best Christmas story ever. Of course you wanted to keep your trophy.

    But next year, it would be cool to hunt for and find that very Salvation Army man, and give him the pumpkin. Maybe full of pennies from the car. Or not. Whatever. The point is the pumpkin and the man.

    I’m staying tuned to see where this one lands! Because this post feels like foreshadowing to me.

  7. Carroll–The coat suffered a bit, but was quickly remedied with a wet paper towel. (Luckily, it wasn’t raining.) ALSO, I need my keys to lock the door, so locking them inside isn’t really an option. (Thank God. Can you imagine me trying to scream “BYOOP! BYOOP!” at different frequencies in the parking lot to try to release the lock? ALSO, I have a thing against kids eating Milk Duds. Something about presenting their teeth to the dentist embedded inside chewed up Milk Duds. Yikes. (AND, the cookies? I’ve never heard of those!) (Obviously, I offer up my apologies for sticking that song in your head. Here’s hoping it’s gone by now. Quick! Rockin’ around the Christmas tree!)

    Susanwolfe–Yeah, but what if the Salvation Army guy had taken my license plate number and reported me for littering? That would be a $500 pumpkin head!

    Deb–I would LOVE to hunt down the Salvation Army guy for that very reason. In fact, I just bought a kit to make pumpkin monkey bread (??) (!!!), which would be the perfect gift for him.

  8. OK, I totally need a new car now. My 16-year-old (and proudly-driven!) station wagon pre-dates the obviously stellar invention of cars in which one cannot possibly lock ones keys. Would that I’d had one of those the day I slammed shut the door (with both sleeping infant and keys already inside) of my other car a good few years ago. And a sound system with something other than a tape deck on which I have taped (no less-repetitive way to put that) shut the access thingy so as to remove any possibility of “Walk Like an Egyptian” beginning to repeat and repeat and repeat off the mix-tape my son made when he was in junior high? Oh, the luxury!

  9. Oh, and the “Leftover Halloween Candy Cookies”? I made those up a few years ago a couple of weeks before Christmas. You take your basic oatmeal/chocolate chip cookie recipe (oatmeal so they’re “healthy” dontcha know?) chop up all the leftover Halloween candy you’ve got in the house and dump that in instead of the chocolate chips and nuts, and you’re good to go.

  10. Angela, Caroll wants me to come over here to tell you that you won a prize. Either a Starbucks or iTunes gift card.

    For doing nothing. What could be better?

    Free lattes! Or for that matter, free tunes!

    So come check out my comments, ok?

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