When Life Gives You Fungus, Make a Jack-o-Lantern Instead

It’s Thursday again.  Suze here.  Fall, or autumn as some say, is my favorite time of the year.  Don’t get all technical on me, sky watchers.  I know the Autumnal Equinox does not arrive until 5:04 a.m. September 23, so today is actually the last day of summer.  It’s close enough for me!  Cooler temperatures, leaves changing colors, Major League Baseball playoffs (go Yankees!), and harvest fairs — what’s not to love?

Eat your heart out, Headless Horseman!

Those of you who have been following the Scribes for a while might remember my post about Captain America, the giant pumpkin Mr. Suze and our teenage son have been growing all summer.  Here’s a link back to the original post, if you want a refresher or you’ve joined us recently.

For months Suze’s men tended the Dill Atlantic Giant growing in the backyard, lovingly tented him every morning with a sunshade and snuggled him up at night with a blanket. They bathed his tumescent orange flesh in fungicide, and enriched the soil in which he was growing with secret natural fertilizers.  Every few days, they headed outside with a notebook and a tape measure and made calculations of his weight and the rate at which he was growing.  At the last measurement, he weighed in at 375 pounds or so — not the biggest pumpkin ever grown here, but respectable.   Elaborate plans were made to lift him onto a trailer by means of a gantry and antique block and tackle device.  Captain America was destined for glory at our local fair.

Then, disaster struck.  Weeks of heavy rain proved too much for the behemoth gourd, and two days before he was to be transported, Captain America developed a soft spot of rot, rendering him ineligible for the competition.  Perhaps our pumpkin patch just wasn’t sincere enough.

Depressing, right?  Well, for a while.  My menfolk cut the top off the pumpkin, scooped out the seeds to dry for next year, and carved out a Jack-o-lantern face.  Turns out the fair people were happy to have Captain America as a decoration, and this year a different kid won the King of the Pumpkin Patch award — something I know that kid will remember for the rest of his life.  All in all, it turned out OK, and it gives us something to look forward to next year. 

Just goes to show you that it pays to be able to roll with the punches and come up grinning.  How about you?  Got any lemons-into-lemonade moments you’d like to share?

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23 thoughts on “When Life Gives You Fungus, Make a Jack-o-Lantern Instead”

  1. Hi! I had a lemons to lemonade moment earlier this year. I published my very first book back in March and proudly set it out into the world. Sadly, I was even greener than the most wet-behind-the-ears rookie and I didn’t know that I needed to hire an editor. I ended up with 20 copies of a book with 15ish typos in it. I marketed them as a limited first edition and put a fancy sticker inside them. Someday when I’m rich and famous, that first edition of The Cordovan Vault will be worth a fortune! Maybe. 😉

  2. Poor Captain America! At least he got to be a fancy Jack O’Latern. He looks great! I don’t have any one specific lemons to lemonade moment (at least none I can think of this early in the morning!). Bad things happen all the time, often without rhyme or reason. I find it’s better to not let life get me down. Ironically, writing has actually toughened me up more (or maybe that’s my age!). In any case, I’ll be rooting for next year’s crop of big, bad pumpkins!

    1. Agreed — I’ve noticed as well that writing has made me tougher, far less likely to take offense at imagined or real slights. Not that I totally have that down yet, you understand! I think it’s a combination of maturity, and the confidence that comes from putting myself out there and seeing that, when I did, the world didn’t end, and the fact that I’ve finally found something that I really, truly love to do. My hysterectomy probably didn’t hurt either!

  3. “Behemoth gourd”–I love you, Jane!

    My most recent lemons-to-lemonade story (there are many over my lifetime) has to do with my car accident a month or so ago. Totalling my one year old Volkswagen Golf TDI, which I lovingly called Black Beauty, was certainly a sour moment and not the best welcome home after a few weeks in the Mediterranean. But I have to say that having a lemonade kind of attitude was easy. I was alive and only minimally injured, I didn’t hurt anyone else, and I had all the insurance in place to cover the damages. I’ll never buy a car without getting GAP insurance.

    I would never have said this to my little Black Beauty, but black was not my favored choice. I bought that car because it was the only one on the lot. Today I’m picking up my new 2011 Golf TDI with all fresh miles on it (I’d put over 40,000 on Blackie in just over a year and the 36,000 mile free maintenance was up), and I LOVE the color! Graphite blue–I’ll have to drive her for a few days before I’ll name her, but I’m looking forward to sipping my lemonade.

  4. The best laid plans of mice and men …. isn’t that the phrase? Our plans often times do not go as we wished, but we humans are resilient. The good Captain’s picture is adorable.
    I had to laugh when reading PJ’s response because I name my car also. My car is Izzie (she’s an Isuzu Rodeo, need I say more).
    As a PS … when I have lemons, I make lemon meringue pie.

    1. My current car doesn’t have a name, but I did name my computer (Dell-ilah, see last week’s post). And Gerri, I could totally go for a slice of lemon meringue pie. Or some of those lemon bars with the shortbread crust — you know the ones I mean? Mmmmmm. . . .

      1. I love those lemon bars! And I’m currently driving Griswald, the family truckster. And my hubby drives Pearl, (either the Mini Pearl or the Black Pearl depending on your generation).

    1. This just leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Still, the squashing of the bad stuff under some tires might be satisfying too. Like crushing your enemies.

    1. Sadly, he went quietly into that good night. He looks OK there, but let’s just say he wasn’t as fresh as he could have been by the end of the weekend!

  5. Lemons-into-lemonade … I belong to that club, at least I hope so. Love your pumpkin story, my tears had just begun when I read your remedy for the growing soft spot. The corners of my lips turned up when you cut the top off of the competing 375 pound pumpkin and turned it into Captain America O’lantern. I use those lemons for great Margarita’s.

    1. Well, you can make a pie out of it, but it’s not ideal. Those little sugar pumpkins make a much better dessert. But honestly, and here’s my Scribe Secret for the day, I prefer the canned pumpkin for my pie. Don’t tell.

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