Saturday, October 31, 2009

Our Pumpkin-less Patch

Uncle B and his kids

Bate's Nut Farm

October 2002

Uncle B and Samuel

Bell Garden's 10/03

Notice the Bate's Pumpkin Shirts Uncle Bryan splurged for!

Aidan and his favorite Uncle

Bryan loved Halloween. Maybe it is because he was always a kid at heart and dressing up is fun. For a kid ANY age. You've seen the photos of him as a Viking on this blog. Not last year, but the one before, he went as a pitcher of red Kool-Aid. I can remember him as the 10 Million Dollar Man, a cowboy ghost (see my archives on 1/15/09 post for THAT wild story), GI Joe, the list is endless. When most teens had grown out of trick-or-treating, Bryan kept it up almost through high school. And every year as an adult. I knew why he did it as a teen; Bryan was one of those meanies who would take punky kids candy from them! He always carried a huge king-sized pillow case for his loot. Of course, he was just doing the grunt work for my dad. Daddy always said he need to "check" our candy (these were the years when psycho people were doing things like putting straight pins in candy bars!). He would sort the chocolate from the silly, low-class sugar stuff like Smarties, Dum Dums, and Pixie Stix. My dad was only interested in the chocolate. He "checked" it alright. Serves Bryan right--he snatched the loot to have it stolen from him :) Payback!

Bryan loved the old Charlie Brown movies. In fact, Halloween 2008 he bought my kids the entire Remastered Deluxe Editions--with the Valentine's, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Halloween stories. It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is a movie my brother and I watched on TV for years as kids. With commercials. Remember Linus faithfully keeping watch all night for the Great Pumpkin. He believed. So did Bryan. In the fun of Halloween and dressing up and getting lots of free candy at least. I hope he didn't really believe in the Great Pumpkin?
He was tickled to buy it for the kids on DVD, without commercials. My kids are watching it as I type. Even though we don't "do" Halloween over here, we always get pumpkins. And before you boo me for being a kill-joy, I also plan a dress-up opportunity for my kids at Harvest time so they get to enjoy the costume thing that Uncle B so delighted in. This year it is a Medieval Feast. Last year it was an ancient Athens Olympics. So there is dressing up going on over here. Sheeeesh! Give me some credit. It's not bizarre pregnant housewife ghosts, but they still enjoy it (you really have to re-read my January post to get this!).

Ever since my kids joined the party, Bryan has taken us to the Pumpkin Patch to pick out the biggest, ugliest pumpkin money could buy. I have dozens of pictures but we've had technical difficulties this week around our house so I can't locate them (especially the most recent--where the whole family is on a tractor hayride and Uncle B is sneezing!). But let's just say that when the air turns crisp and the leaves begin to change colors, Bryan has always been here to welcome the start of the holidays with our annual Pumpkin Patch trip. Bate's Nut Farm was his first choice. He loved all the goodies and never got out of there without spending tons of money and contributing to the cavity quota over here. He was so much fun. Like a big 'ole grinning kid. Even rode the pumpkin train with the littles. I guess this is just one more day added to the list of First Without Him.

So this year, as much as I tried, I cried, I prayed, I willed myself to carry on his tradition, I even scheduled a trip to a new, unfamiliar, just-so-no-old-memories-would-overtake-me patch...I couldn't do it. So now you can legitimately boo me or feel sorry for my kids. They have no pumpkin--no big, fat, ugly pumpkin--on our front porch to remind them of Uncle B. Maybe next year?


Anonymous said...

For sure next year.....I will figure out a way to carry on Bryan's as well as my Mama's passion for "The Day Of The Dead".....Peace

John McGeough said...

What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man...I feel like I knew him from your words and pictures. Thanks for a wonderful and loving post.


WARNING! Tissues Required-Video Slideshow of Bryan's Life-Sorry the music was muted!