With Fall Upon Us, Our Family Hunts for Pumpkins

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by Michael Casten |

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wheelchairs, holiday season, conferences, musical talents, dogs

A blue sky peered out from behind white, fluffy clouds. Rays of sunlight followed. The air was crisp and cool, and the trees had started to change colors, expressing the coming of fall.

Our family had plans to meet my daughter Ella’s cousins at a local pumpkin patch. We rose early in the day, put on our custom Halloween shirts, and headed out the door for a family affair.

Ella and her cousin started the plan to visit a pumpkin patch while they FaceTimed the previous the week. The adults jumped on board, and talk became reality.

We arrived after 1 p.m. Although Ella, who has SMA, had to drive her wheelchair over rocks, she never got stuck. A sign at the entrance let us know we had to wear masks and practice social distancing by staying 6 feet apart.

We walked past the goody shop, and the smell of fudge and doughnuts wafted to our noses. Under a large tent, gourds and flowers brightly contrasted the mud floor.

Next, we saw a field with large pumpkins. Ella, her brother, Henry, and her sister, Ava, raced to pick out a pumpkin to take home. Their younger cousin met them from the opposite direction. My wife, Lindsay, and I met up with the kids and Ella’s aunt. 

We cruised the field for the perfect pumpkins. Ella’s wheelchair bounced on the uneven terrain, but managed well. The kids found several pumpkins, some of which proved a challenge to move. I grabbed a courtesy wagon.

We found two pumpkins for Ava and Henry and continued our hunt for Ella’s pumpkin. The kids began running around the field, chasing each other and laughing. Ella joined in and was smiling from ear to ear under her mask. 

After about 20 minutes, we finally found the perfect pumpkin for Ella. Smaller than Ava’s and Henry’s pumpkins, it completed the trio nicely. We weighed the pumpkins and made our way to the cashier. The kids were laughing, joking, and enjoying one another’s company. It has been so long since they have seen each other in person. We grabbed some gourds on the way out, and the cousins jumped in our van to go home with us for the afternoon.

At our house, they played together for hours, running around outside and then hunkering down with their devices. 

For our family, the fall season starts the day we get our Halloween pumpkins. Light jackets and long pants block the cool, crisp air. We begin decorating our house and finalize preparations for the season. Scented candles are lit around the house to welcome visitors.

Ella loves the holiday season that extends from Halloween all the way through to New Year’s Eve. We are so grateful she has survived SMA and has enjoyed everything the season has to offer. 

Ella finds the perfect pumpkin. (Photo By Lindsay Casten)


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