Is there any sadder sight than that of a decomposing pumpkin?
I write that sentence with editor angst because I am an old-school believer in using the most short and succinct word.
It’s a rotting pumpkin, and we all know that. But in deference to all those eating their scrambled eggs and Cheerios, I use the more sanitized verb.
Of course as a cops and courts reporter the word “decomposing” leads me to think of more horrific things, but that’s probably best left for another column.
Why I have pumpkins at my house is a mystery in itself.
I stopped doing the holiday thing years ago. After 10 years spent as a Lifestyles editor, I am more than over Jack o’lanterns, Christmas trees, Valentine hearts and shamrocks in March.
But, about a month ago, I ran out of dog food. That sounds irrelevant, but it led to an early Saturday morning retail run that translated into me getting into a festive spirit.
There were cheerful and joyful displays at the store that included pumpkins, hay bales and fodder shocks.
And, seriously, “fodder shocks” has to be among the most fun terms imaginable.
But, back to the point, I suddenly had a desire to decorate with some Halloween decor.
Remembering a great pumpkin carving kit I used years ago during my feature editor days, I stopped by the local craft store.
Unfortunately, they did not carry those kits.
However, it was an introduction into a whole, new, happy, holiday world.
I hate to use the word “cult,” but as I pushed my buggy around the store I felt like I was being indoctrinated into the autumn edition of “The Stepford Wives.”
Everyone was happy.
Everyone was smiling.
Everyone was buying faux fall foliage.
Suddenly, I had small glitter-covered pumpkins in my cart. I don’t know why, but they were too pretty to pass up.
Then came the silk chrysanthemums and the giant sunflowers.
What the heck was wrong with me?
I left the store feeling gleeful and carefree — which is not me.
But then the mood continued and so did the shopping spree.
I went to a large superstore and found my pumpkin carving kit, as well as pumpkins. Amazingly, everyone in the store was jovial and joyous and there was no wait time at the check-out lane.
And so I continued in my purchasing mode, buying more pumpkin adornments such as fake jewels and gemstones.
The next stop was for a new glue gun because I had bedazzling plans in my future.
OK, it was a fun Saturday. But bright and early Sunday morning I snapped out of my psychedelic Halloween fog.
Were there magic mushrooms or another humungous fungus growing within my cheerful orange gourds?
I live in the boondocks. Why in the world did I spend time and money decorating pumpkins for the delight of deer, raccoons and an occasional coyote?
I respect those who decorate for the holidays for the enjoyment of their friends, family members and others.
It takes time, energy, patience and a carriage-load of creativity.
But I am not that person.
And so my pumpkins are slowly rotting and I find myself dreading the upcoming holiday season.
Why am I now seeing Christmas decor on store shelves? There was a moment in time when that observance was not celebrated until the annual arrival of the Sears Roebuck catalog.
This season I have vowed to stay out of craft stores and avoid the red-and-green Kool-Aid.
My only decoration will be our newsroom crime-scene Christmas tree, which, somehow, makes me happy with its beautiful blue lights and yellow-tape garland.
For others who celebrate with loads of festive lights and beautiful adornments, I wish you well.
Decorating is not easy or simple. Do so at your own peril.
A dying pumpkin could be in your future.
Samantha Perry is editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at email@example.com. Follow her @BDTPerry.