The pumpkin patch photos started popping up on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. You know the ones I mean. Cute kids sitting on, near, or next-to a pumpkin. At least one of the kids in the picture is smiling. There’s usually hay on the ground, maybe a cornstalk in the background.
When Shnook was a toddler, I started to panic once the end of October was near. “I don’t have a pumpkin patch photo. Am I going to regret it for the rest of my life if I don’t have a pumpkin patch photo?” I posted about this anxiety on my Facebook status. Most of the comments suggested that I would, in fact, regret it later:
Another friend suggested I just fake it.
“Just take him to Trader Joe’s, plop him on a pumpkin, and crop it really close! No one will ever know!”
That advice was probably the best, since at the time I had no idea where to find a pumpkin patch near me, and I can walk to two different Trader Joe’s near my Los Angeles home.
Now that I am a seasoned veteran, I am aware there are bunches of “Pumpkin Patches” in L.A. There are “Pumpkin Patches” set up on every empty lot complete with hay rides and petting zoos, scarecrows and cider. People out here pretend that fall exists in the same way as it does in the rest of the country It’s certainly not the same, being from the northeast, but we make do. Fall in Los Angeles is quite questionable, although I did see some real leaves changing color on Westwood Blvd. yesterday while I was driving even as my car thermostat read 80 degrees.
This year we decided we wanted a little more of an authentic experience. So, we drove about an hour northeast to take the Pumpkin Train. This is a real old steam choo-choo that operates three or four times a year. My three-year-old has been obsessed with trains of all kinds (and airplanes…and buses…and trucks) since he was a year and a half. This was perfect, because it was a thirty minute ride to a pumpkin patch, a REAL pumpkin patch, where they also grew lots of corn and Christmas trees. We rode the hay ride and picked our pumpkin and danced the Monster Mash. Just as we were about to get back on the train to go home, I realized:
“Holy crap! The obligatory pumpkin patch photo!”
I threw both boys up on a wall of hay with cornstalks in the background. It was a gorgeous day. Too bad I couldn’t make them smile to save my life. I only had a few minutes and I took this with my phone. Oh well!
Meanwhile enjoy the video of the beautiful view on the Pumpkin Train, with the occasional Shnook head popping up and watching the train go.