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My Pumpkin Doesn’t Gobble – But it Makes a Fine Turkey

     …firestorms, pumpkins, and turkey-time around the corner. Hot over-a-hundred-degree weather turned to smoke and ashes. Skies cleared in time for rain to drip down onto the smoldering ashes, onto the soot that turned the driveways gray, onto the yellow jackets of the firemen and the bright orange flames still leaping in the mountains. Everywhere, hushed voices asking friends and strangers, “Are you all right? Did you make it through?”

     We did. We didn’t. We didn’t know so many people cared. We won’t sleep as soundly for a while. Some are sleeping in strange beds. Not soundly, for sure. Anxious moments, anxious hours, anxious days…

     Methinks Halloween will pass quietly in the night this year – it will be gone before you read this. The lighthearted joy of past Halloweens sucked out of young trick-or-treaters and their worried, hovering parents. Going through the motions. Rain clouds and the smell of smoke casting their spell over the spooky solicitors of hob-goblin treats.

     But ah! Thanksgiving is in the air and our pumpkin has already turned into a festive turkey bedecked with feathers the color of autumn leaves and a snappy orange and red and green bandanna to match. A small black top-hat sits astride his wobbly, beaked head and his scrawny gullet reaches down to tickle the neck of the colorful bandanna.

     How say you? A pumpkin turned into a turkey?

     A little magic? More like five wooden tail feathers covered with fanciful fabric and a turkey head, all on slender sticks to be poked into the pumpkin. And the bandanna tied in a perky knot around the pumpkin-turkey chest – a gift from a brother and sister-in-law who never forget the silly things I say and write.

     A wonderful turkey! A turkey to make you laugh! A turkey to turn your thoughts to Thanksgiving. Not a turkey to roast. Definitely not a turkey to roast. But now I know what to do with pumpkin leftovers. Thank you, brother and sister-in-law.

     I think Thanksgiving will loom large this year. Larger than Halloween or fires burnt into our mountains, our homes, our thoughts. Maybe even larger than Christmas, because who can take all that stuff with them when the next fire comes anyway?

     It’s a good time, November. So the Chargers are losing, but we’ve all taken stock. The important things. What we were ready to take with us if we had to leave in a hurry. Our family, our pets, a few important papers, the toothbrush, a change of clothes. Photos. The computer - the machine that for so many of us holds our life’s work and for others, the family photos themselves.

     November. A good month. The fires have left us for now. Our land is stripped, ready for new growth. We are stripped, confident we can survive – could survive – with much less than we thought we needed.

     Life. Life is beautiful. November is good. My pumpkin doesn’t gobble – but it makes a fine turkey.

     Happy November to all, and to all a fine Thanksgiving!

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