Every October Meggie and her family would go to a farm stand near Lexington and pick out a pumpkin for Halloween. Sometimes Meggie found a tiny pumpkin and she would keep it in the house. She wanted to put it on her dresser but it usually ended up on the dining room table, where she would make a display with leaves and a few twigs.
Another favorite Halloween tradition was drawing a face on the pumpkin for Dad to carve out. They usually decided on a friendly face, not too scary. One year Meggie said, “It should only have one tooth because it didn’t go to the dentist”. So the pumpkin had a smile and one lonely tooth.
Sometimes they took the seeds from the pumpkin, washed them and put them on a cookie sheet to bake in the oven. Meggie would eat a few but she didn’t like them nearly as much as her favorite Halloween treat – candy corn! Her Mom said, “You can have a few but not too many. You’ll get a stomach ache. Remember last year?” It’s true that Meggie ate too much candy corn and had a stomach ache but she didn’t care. She just wanted more candy corn!
Pumpkins, with or without faces, are delightful to see in October.
Here is a picture from a visit to the Cherry Blossom Festival two years ago in Washington D.C. It was a cold, overcast day but the cherry blossoms were in peak bloom and the entire area around the Tidal Basin looked like an enchanted forest. This one day spent among the lovely blossoms was simply unforgettable.
Every fall Meggie and her family would take a weekend to see the autumn leaves. Sometimes they would drive all over New England to see the beautiful foliage. During the winter they would talk about the prettiest trees they saw and how colorful the leaves were in the sunshine. Each year there would be at least one perfect day that everyone remembered.
Autumn is still a time when Meg loves to see the changing colors of the leaves!
Years ago when Meggie was a student, her teacher asked the class a question. “Would anyone like to have a pen pal from England and exchange letters with them?” In response, everyone (including Meggie) raised their hands. The teacher handed each student a slip of paper with the name of someone to write to. Meggie’s paper had the name of a girl named Philippa. Then the class was given an assignment to write a letter, put it in an envelope and bring it to school the next day. The teacher would put stamps on the letters and put them in the mail.
Meggie couldn’t wait to write a letter and tell her new pen pal everything that she thought might be interesting. She began to write: “Dear Philippa, My name is Margaret but everyone calls me Meggie. I got this name from the book “Little Women”. Do you have a nickname too? My dog is named Missy and sometimes my Mom calls ME Missy!!! Do you have a pet?” At this point Meggie thought she should rewrite her letter because she didn’t want to misspell any words. Also she was mixing everything up with pets, activities and books.
Her letter was ready the next day to take to class. She rewrote everything so it seemed more sensible. And her dog Missy almost ate the letter when it was sitting on the kitchen table! Luckily Meggie grabbed it in time and put it safely in the plaid book bag that she had gotten as a birthday present. She handed in her letter to the teacher and so did her classmates. The teacher told the class the letters would be mailed after school that day. Meggie couldn’t wait to hear back from her new pen pal.
In the summer Meggie and her family used to drive to an outdoor ice cream stand in Lexington, and she always asked for a cone. She would get a single scoop of frozen-solid ice cream on a spindly cake cone. But when she took one lick the ice cream fell off the cone and landed on the gravel driveway! Meggie promptly burst into tears. Her mother said, “I’ll get a spoon and you can have some of my pistachio ice cream,” but she just didn’t like the flavor and refused to eat any. Since this solution didn’t work Meggie ended up with another little scoop – in a cup this time – with some caramel topping. And happily ice cream is still one of her favorite treats.
One Saturday afternoon Meggie went to a friend’s house for a tea party. The tea was served in tiny floral cups with gold trim on the handles. It was so mild she thought it was like drinking warm water. Along with the tea there were delicious cookies (“blscuits” as her friend’s English mother said.) Everything was so perfect Meggie asked her mother for a tea set for her birthday or Christmas, whichever came first. But this was a long time to wait, so she asked, “Mom, could I have a teacup to practice with?” Meggie got an old teacup that she could fill with cold or warm water. One time her mother gave her some real tea to drink, but Meggie thought it needed lots of milk and sugar to make it taste good. Since then Meggie has always been fond of teapots and teacups. And she saw these when she was in England!
Meggie used to go on vacations with her family in their station wagon, and she was the kid who always asked, “Are we there yet?” even as they were pulling out of the driveway. She also liked to look for postcards to buy along the way. One time they drove on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to visit her grandmother. This souvenir was actually a little photo album with ten pictures.
On another family trip they went to Yellowstone National Park where she saw Old Faithful and other fantastic things. Meggie said, “It’s like walking on the moon.” Her dad took pictures on his Polaroid camera, and she bought a postcard as a souvenir of their visit.
Meggie usually remembered to bring spending money on these trips. If she forgot she would say, “Mom, could I have a nickel for this postcard?” Meggie liked to get several postcards so she could mail some to her friends as well as keep one for herself. It could be an adventure finding places to mail them when they were on vacation, like the time they found a rusty old letter box attached to the outside of a coffee shop.
These trips were always so much fun and Meggie still likes to travel and collect souvenirs!
No matter what year it is (or what time of the year), there are beautiful flowers. Meggie has always loved flowers and gardens, and she still does! Here are some of her favorites from different seasons.