Volunteer Pumpkins

This morning, I was walking Mrs. Wigglebottom and over on the interstate side of our street was a clump of large orange-yellow flowers, blowing in the breeze like damp tissue paper.

One of the neighborhood miscreants threw a jack o’ lantern over there shortly after Halloween, and it spent all winter there slowly rotting.

But still, you rarely, if ever, see feral pumpkin just growing wherever (though, I imagine some of you gardeners will argue that, the second one takes her eyes off a pumpkin, it has a tendency to grow wherever), so I wasn’t sure.

I went over and reached down to touch it.  And there it was, the familiar prickle of the pumpkin vine.

It’s funny, to me, at least, that I don’t really consider my mom to be an avid gardener.  It’s just something she did–have a vegetable garden there in the back yard.  And I thought nothing of it.  We always had one.  And you could go in and snap green beens right off and eat them or, better yet, sugar snap peas, which I would gladly stand in the garden, and eat fresh off the vine until I was too full for dinner.

But, if you asked me about my mom, I don’t think I’d think to tell you about her garden.

And yet, folks, when I reached down and felt those prickles against my skin, the memory of standing in her garden fell over me like a fog, like I had lost my present self for a second, and was a small girl bending down in her dirt, checking to see if any small pumpkins were forming.

It’s just funny to me, the things you remember that you don’t know you remember.

It gives me comfort, though, to think that it’s all stuck in this head some place and that I can spend the rest of my days stumbling across things that pull me into those memories, like little treats of the mind.

4 thoughts on “Volunteer Pumpkins

  1. What a lovely memory. I love when something random or seemingly insignificant triggers a memory of my grandparents. You’re right — they really are little treats of the mind.

  2. Feral pumpkins. Heh.

    I had a lovely vine of free-range cherry tomatoes one year. They came up in the seam between the driveway and the alley behind the East Nashville house I was living in, about a block off Five Points. Serendipity….

  3. It’s interesting to me how our more low-profile senses seem to have more powerful abilities to evoke memory. Like touch, in your case here. Taste, for Proust, of course. And smells work that way for me, especially. I walked into a room the other day that totally smelled like my kindergarten complex, and all these memories washed over me. A building on campus had this brassy smell that is exactly like my hometown library growing up. I wonder if it’s because taste, touch, and smell are more intimate senses, whereas seeing and hearing can happen from further away.

  4. Hmm. I wonder, too. I like the idea of it being about intimacy, though, because that makes sense to me, that the closer something is, the more likely you are to need to be able to draw on as much remembered information as possible, because what ever is happening is happening near or to you.

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