Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere

The moon stole out from behind the clouds as the family of five crept through the cornfield towards the pumpkin patch; they were primed for a little poaching…

Don’t worry; I would never lead my family on a seasonal crime spree. It’s just that there are so many activities to do in Québec City that sometimes I wish we could sneak out at night and enjoy the ones we missed.

Three weeks ago, we all piled into the car and made our annual fall trek to l’île d’Orléans. We’ve been going to the same apple orchard in Ste-Famille since we moved to Quebec City from Toronto 13 years ago. There isn’t a sign, or a giant waving apple, but you can admire Mont-Sainte-Anne, enjoy a tractor ride and a pick a bucket of Cortlands, MacIntosh or Spartan. If you’re in the mood for a picnic, you can drive on to the observation tower at the end of the island. There’s a place to buy French fries and if you like to climb stairs, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular view of the St. Lawrence.

Driving to the orchard, we had noticed a field of pumpkins and decided that we would stop on the way back. The sky was like a blue vaulted roof above our heads and the rich brown soil scattered with yellow hay was the soft carpet under our feet. Expansive vistas were our walls hung with paintings of distant mountains and fields of pumpkins, pumpkins, more pumpkins and oh yes, loads of squash.

We selected a large knobbly blue hubbard squash from the pile heaped on the wooden wagon. While the farmer explained how to make a good soup, the kids made a dash for the cornfield labyrinth. The sun was shining through the drying stalks of corn, releasing those comfortable autumn aromas into the crisp air. We wandered through the maze for half an hour before we found the haunted house and escaped out the exit.

Choosing a pumpkin reminds me of the book Millions of Cats by Wanda Ga’g. Much like the kittens in the 1928 children’s story, every pumpkin we saw was unique and deserving of a home. We finally agreed on a small, perfectly-proportioned pumpkin and a strange, double-headed one. After exhausting the contents of my wallet for the family of squash, including a little decorative baby one, it was time to go, and I don’t mean home…

“Should we…?” I asked, but I knew that a visit to the Chocolaterie de l’île d’Orléans in the picturesque village of Ste-Pétronille had already been planned. Each of us enjoyed a soft serve cone generously dipped in Belgian dark chocolate. We fought off the occasional jealous bee as we savoured our snack sitting on the outside patio. It was a tasty way to end our island tour.

The jack ‘o’ lanterns are now rotting gloriously on our front stoop. My two youngest boys decided they couldn’t wait and carved the pumpkins themselves as soon as got home. If I can squish candles in them on Halloween night, I will, but either way, they are one spooky sight. But they aren’t as creepy as a midnight field of pumpkins, just waiting, for a foolhardy family of five.

Categories: Opinion

About Author

Jason Enlow

Jason Enlow is a Special Education Technician at an English elementary school. He was born in Montreal, Quebec and grew up in Burlington, Ontario. Jason studied Radio and Television at Ryerson University in Toronto. His previous employers include CityTV, CBC, The Weather Network, and Global Television. He’s worked as a DJ, camera operator, musician, teacher, translator and video game content designer. Jason moved to Quebec City in 1997 where he still lives today with his wife and three sons.