Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Embracing Crazy

          The whole world is crazy, you know. And I’ve decided to embrace it. Here’s proof: Every October, everyone in the U.S. buys pumpkins. We turn them about to select the right shape, get excited about taking them home, and we see them in someone else’s cart and gush, “Oh, pumpkins!” the way some might say, “Oh, puppies!”

          Then we decorate with them. Same with gourds. We don’t consider eating these items of produce. Nope, they must be displayed for Halloween and then Thanksgiving. Sometimes we paint or carve them into jack-o-lanterns, adhering to this ritual as if it’s a religion. Not to have pumpkins on our porches makes us feel we’re committing a felony.

          The same is true of decorating eggs for Easter, and wearing green for St. Patrick’s Day. Many of us follow these rules more rigidly than we obey speed limit signs. We’ve grown up doing it, and no matter how much a rebel you are, casting off old traditions, you will still feel the urge to talk about groundhogs, pull April Fools pranks, ask kids what Santa is bringing them, and sing along with Christmas music. Our holidays have wriggled into our DNA.

          Imagine if, instead of pumpkins, we celebrated with, say, heads of cabbage. We would stack them up, carve them, admire them—because we would know no different. Millions of dollars would be spent for Cabbage Day decorations, and little kids would draw pictures of cabbages. No one would question this because it’s just what we do.

          And I’m on board. No matter how ridiculous a holiday is when you stop and think about it, I like these times because they unite us. Your politics, your faith, your age, your gender, your race—none of it matters. We gather to run through the same pumpkin patch mazes, we hand out candy to little kids in witch costumes, and we put scarecrows up-- even if we have no gardens to protect or crows to worry about. This is how we belong. We’re part of our culture, we’re team players, we have fun looking forward to the next excuse for candy. It gives us sameness for a little while, and a mutual goal. Happy Halloween, my fellow Americans. 

Check out my Youtube Mom channel for great pumpkin ideas!

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