After twisting and twining our way through the patch I thought maybe we could play a quick game of hide and seek. We have played hide and seek in the house many times, often with Abbot in some location in which he shouldn't be hiding, such as the washing machine while it's running, or my maker's underwear drawer. This would be fun, though, because Abbot wouldn't be able to get into trouble. Abbot counted first. He climbed on top of one of the giant pumpkins, laid on his back and started naming colors. He said when he got to the color orange he'd be done counting. I told him it didn't work that way because I had no idea when the color orange would come, thus not knowing how much time I had to hide. Abbot looked at me matter-of-factly and said in his woolie monster voice, "Caruthers, I memorized the box of 64 crayons. Didn't you? Orange comes after dusty rose, which comes after bubble pink, which comes after kinda red, which comes after almost red, which comes after....." He went on with the colors and I had to interrupt him. "OK, Abbot," I said. "Just turn over onto your belly so you can't see where I'm hiding." Abbot answered, "Au contraire, Caruthers. I will see you less if I stay on my back, for I am looking only at the sky right now." What could I say? When you're right, you're right.
I wondered where I should hide. Even in this field of tall, leafy vegetation, I still towered above everything in the patch. I had to find the biggest pumpkin. As I scurried along, pulling myself away from the prickles, I heard Abbot say, "ORANGE!" in about the loudest voice he could muster. It was too late. He was off his color-counting pumpkin and on his feet in a heartbeat. He saw me immediately and started gargling. He gargled so hard that he toppled over onto the ground and got stuck under the prickles. His gargling stopped then and I heard him start sobbing. I let out a lengthy sigh and walked back over to yank him up. Sheepishly, he looked at me and said a quiet thank you. I just smiled. Only Abbot could get away with that. "My turn!" Abbot announced.
I'm a lot of things, but I am not a cheater. I told Abbot I would face the soybean field and count, in numbers, up to twelve, and then I would come to find him. "Is 'twelve' yellow-orange or gold?" he asked me. I wasn't sure, of course, not having memorized the 64 box of crayons. "It comes after eleven," I said. And I should have known what was coming next,"Is 'eleven' turquoise blue or indigo blue?" I counted to twelve, and Abbot hid.
Abbot, though quite a bit shorter than I, dashed away to the first large orb he spotted. But he must have realized his ears would give him away. Later he told me he tried to hold them down with his arms, but, alas, they kept boinging right back up. He just had to find a larger pumpkin, or lay down on the ground and feel the wrath of the prickles again.
It took me a while to find him. He did a good job hiding, even his ears. I approached and stood almost beside him, not able to see him at all. His green face blended with the green leaves so well that I did not even notice him. Although I could not see him, he could see me, and that was his downfall. Try as he might, his gargling erupted, quietly at first, from his belly. And as it grew in volume the leaves began to shake, and the crunchy ground debris rustled under his feet. I turned my body right then to face the sound, and had to pull aside a leaf or two to uncover his face.
"There you are!" I said to Abbot, just in time for him to topple over once again in gargling laughter. I couldn't blame him. It was a bit amusing to think I was standing beside him and couldn't even see him.
I helped him off the ground....again....and out of the prickles....again.
Together we explored the rest of the patch until we came upon a pumpkin so large and so round and so orange and so perfect, we decided then and there that this would be OUR Halloween pumpkin. We imagined the spooky face we'd carve, and the cold autumn night when the wind would howl, and the witches that would fly through the air, with their green faces and pointy hats. We got a chill just thinking about it. It was then that Abbot gave me a quizzical look. He didn't have to speak either, because I knew what he was thinking. I just answered, "I don't know, Abbot. I don't know HOW we will carry it to the house. In the meantime, it makes a very comfortable table, does it not? Perfect for a milk and cookies party? ......and yes, Abbot, you can bring the chocolates."
Until next time.