November 2005 Sincerely Sire Newsletter

Our "Pumpkin People" in front of our truck full of pumpkins ready to go!

As Good As It Gets!

When it comes to TRADITION and Pumpkins, it doesn’t get much better than this past October. Just about everything fell into place perfectly, starting with a vacant home that we had for sale (now SOLD!) on Portsmouth, which the owners, Rita and Stan, graciously allowed us to use for pumpkin storage and as a distribution and refreshment center for the TRADITION weekend. Thank you Rita and Stan!

Thursday morning, October 13, the pumpkins arrived ahead of schedule in their usual, huge, eighteen-wheeler truck. It was parked on Portsmouth , with the driver asleep inside, as I arrived in the spooky dark at four-thirty in the morning. I knocked on his window and he bounced right up eager to help—yes, that’s right, I said eager to help. His name was Sergio and he was outstanding; there’s something about those pumpkins that gets people excited.

The forklift, which I had ordered the day before to unload the pallets of pumpkins, was parked in the driveway and ready to go. I started it up and began to back out of the driveway, which is when I realized my next stroke of good fortune—the loud beeper, which normally sounds when backing up, was broken! This was fantastic news indeed, as I am always mindful of the sleeping neighbors at that time of the morning. Now I was able to work in relative silence—kind of like Santa Claus, only on a forklift instead of a sleigh.

Sergio swung open the giant rear doors of the truck and I off-loaded the first two stacked crates of pumpkins. Roe and the “pumpkin- crew-kids” checked them out and began tossing them into the garage. I hopped off my sleigh, er, I mean forklift, and went over for a look myself—Jackpot! What beautiful big pumpkins. You never know what you’re going to get until you have a look at the goods, and we had hit the mother lode this year. We had the truck completely unloaded, pumpkins in the garage, “stickered with TRADITION,” and kids off to school by eight o’clock in the morning. Absolutely perfect!

The next day after school, on Friday, we had the “decorating-crew- kids” come over and help us decorate the truck, which was another stroke of good fortune—I was able to get the same, old, rickety 24-foot flatbed truck with the wooden side panels that I had gotten the year before. The wooden side panels (versus metal ones) are very important, because we are able to staple our decorations into the wood; not so with the metal side panels.

Friday evening I flipped through the TV channels late into the night catching all the weather forecasts that I could, and then just before going to bed, checked the weather forecasts on the internet as well. There was a chance of rain, maybe Saturday maybe Sunday. “Oh boy,” I thought, “I knew everything was going a little too perfect.”

The next morning Roe picked up one group of kids, while I waited at the house on Portsmouth for more kids to be dropped off. All the kids that were scheduled to help us that Saturday morning showed up—more good luck.

Once all the workers had arrived and been given the usual safety instructions and pep talk we started tossing the pumpkins from the garage into the back of the truck which I had backed into the driveway. And by the way, I suppose this would be a good time to mention that big pumpkins are great, but it does mean more work for the “pumpkin people” as they run with the big melons in their arms up and down the streets all day long. They do, of course, get breaks, with six kids on the truck and two delivering at any given time. And from what Roe tells me—she is the crew chief in the back while I drive—some of the more wily kids on the truck got pretty creative this year. It seems they were selectively handing out the biggest pumpkins to the kids delivering, so that when it was their turn to “run” they would get the smaller lighter ones. Pretty smart and funny I thought.

We played our usual goofy games during the day, like seeing who could grunt the loudest and with the most feeling, as they caught a pumpkin; who could throw their crumpled up tinfoil from their lunch sandwich into the trash bag; and who could sing a short verse of a sappy love song the best. Lots of fun, lots of dollar “bonuses,” and lots of hard work. Saturday was a great day, no problems, no rain.

Sunday was different. I awoke to dark ominous skies to the west and sunny skies to the east. It was going to be another one of those “cut-off-low” days as the weatherman likes to say. It might rain; it might not.

Well, we almost pitched a perfect game folks, but after our lunch break, early Sunday afternoon, with about four hundred homes still to go, it began raining on us over on Fireside Drive. After twenty-one years of completing our mission, it looked like we were finally going to get rained out on year twenty-two.

We had brought a tarp to cover the kids and the pumpkins which we deployed successfully, and then we hunkered down and prepared for the worst—but again we got lucky. The rain stopped after only ten minutes or so and we just kept right on going until we were finished.

Now, when we got back to Portsmouth to undecorate the truck, it started raining on us again, but we didn’t care! The pumpkins had arrived safe and sound at their destinations. I guess you could say, at that point, we were just dancing in the rain.

The kids that helped us this year were, as always, magnificent! I get such a kick out of working with the adults of the future. It is the most pure fun I have all year. Believe me; we couldn’t do TRADITION without them.

And so my friends, until next year, #23 of TRADITION, may all your pumpkins be big and beautiful!

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