As the weather cools and the leaves begin to turn, I am taken back to a time in my life in which I was the unsuspecting and arbitrary target of a sordid crime.
It’s an evening I don’t openly discuss. I feel as though others will find it trivial, and I worry there’s no way they can relate to the pain that it caused.
Yet, there remains this anger deep down inside; I’m tired of sheltering it under my shame. And so I’ve decided to stand up for all those fellow victims who have suffered in silence and admit:
I am the victim of pumpkin theft.
Some will laugh. To them the loss is insignificant.
But perhaps they’ve never been a 7-year-old child who had his beloved pumpkin snatched away in the night, to be hurled onto some indiscriminate road, smashed and left to rot.
I was that 7-year-old, and it is a night I’ll never forget.
To some a pumpkin is an ordinary fruit that stores overprice this time of year. But to a child, to anyone who cherishes this brief, refreshing time of year, a pumpkin is a symbol.
It is a symbol of autumn. An amulet of relief from the heat of summer. A relic of a simpler time of year. A vision of an uncarved jack-o-lantern. A foretaste of apple cider, candy corn and pumpkin pie.
We take great care to choose the perfect pumpkin from the most sincere pumpkin patch, and then we place it with great pomp on our front porch for the whole world to see.
But then, under the nefarious cloak of night, reckless youth with new driver’s licenses and old cars steal those pumpkins away.
Yet we never admit to the theft. We can’t; others won’t understand. They’ll simply laugh, tell us to get over it. After all, it’s just a pumpkin.
Instead we quietly buy a new pumpkin to fill the void, but the pain of that betrayal does not go away.
Well, I’m here today to raise my head and say, enough is enough. Fellow victims of pumpkin theft, we must stand united!
Let us band together, you gulls of the gone gourds, you sufferers of the stolen squash, you martyrs of the missing melons. We must stand up against our assailants, those vipers of the vine, those jailbirds of the jack-o-lantern, those peccants of the pumpkin patch.
We must raise our rinds for the root of right, and squash out the sour seeds sown by spite.
And do it all with reckless alliteration….
My friends, we are not alone. Across the nation fellow celebrators of the fall fell pray to the pumpkin thieves as well. Take a look at these headlines:
Reward being offered in Iowa pumpkin theft (Des Moines). Word of pumpkin theft produces a bounty for Inver Grove Heights third-graders (St. Paul). Four-hundred-pound pumpkin stolen in Napa (Napa Valley). Two found guilty of $10 pumpkin caper (Albuquerque). Gardeners bereft over theft of 200-pound pumpkin (Ontario). Gatineau pumpkin bandit charged after assault (Ottawa). And most disturbingly, Cat severely hurt, 220 pumpkins stolen (Des Moines).
Or, perhaps you were a local victim of the Great Pumpkin Prank of 2010, in which hundreds of wayward pumpkins mysteriously appeared in the women’s quad at Tabor College.
These are just brief, but shocking, reminders that we are not alone as victims of pumpkin theft.
Let us unite to patch the pumpkin pains of the past, and deplete the unpardonable perversion of the pumpkin pirates and pilferers for our approaching progeny.
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