Rob's jack o'lantern is the front one (the much more creative one). Mine's in the back.
Okay, I promise this is the last post I will do based on my 2008 journal. But I keep finding so much comedy gold in this thing! The passage you're about to read concerns that year's Kimel family pumpkin-carving party at Mom's house. (Jake was five and Sophie was seven.) Enjoy!
Monday, October 27, 2008
We went to a pumpkin-carving party at Mom's house on Sunday. Bun brought over huge pizzas from Decent Pizza, including a vegan pizza, and Mom made one of her famous cherry pies with the sweet and salty saltine cracker crust.
Sophie was being so dumb. She put Jake's cap on at a jaunty angle, struck a classic hip-hop pose, and said to me, "What's up, dog?"
I just died laughing. "God, I wasn't expecting that," I said.
Then Jake had to do it too, only he was saying, "What's up, y'all?"
Rob tried to help them both out. "Actually, it's 'What up, dog?'"
I was still laughing: "Where did they get that?"
"I have no idea," Rob said. "Because it's not exactly current."
"Yeah," Kris said. "I think the Backstreet Boys were saying it 10 or 11 years ago, so I guess it was probably actually cool some time in the '70s."
"Word," Matt said, nodding. (That might have been the only thing he said that entire night.)
We were all eating pizza. I started saying, "Word on the street, yo," in my stiff, very nerdy way--and Rob begged me to stop: "Really," he said, "I'm going to have to kill you."
We started addressing Sophie and Jake as "dog."
Later Jake was in the TV room watching cartoons and I ran back there and said, "Hey, dog, aren't you going to help us with the carving, dog?"
So he chased me down the hall and when he caught me he gave me a good pounding. I have no idea why. He likes to punch you right in the kidneys.
We were teasing Sophie because she hates getting her hands dirty and touching pumpkin guts.
Jake was bragging, "I love pumpkin guts." He was talking in his new "cool," low, manly voice. "I love pumpkin guts," he kept saying.
But then he got close to a pumpkin. Close enough to smell the guts. He started gagging. Mom was dying laughing. "Oh, he almost threw up," she snickered.
That ended his big talk about loving pumpkin guts.
Sophie started crying because she didn't want to carve her pumpkin; she wanted to paint it. But Mom didn't have any paints.
"Why do you want to paint it?" I asked. "Why don't you want to carve it?"
"Because I don't want to get my hands messy," she said. There was a tear on her cheek.
Sophie and Jake decided we should have a contest for the best pumpkin. Sophie made ribbons. They were awesome ribbons. She drew them on pieces of special yellow paper and carefully cut them out.
Rob said, "Oh, I love the ribbons. Those are great." They were so elaborate and ruffled.
Sophie ended up drawing on her pumpkin with a magic marker since Mom didn't have any paints. She did a great design. Her pumpkin had little beady black eyes and this huge crocodile grin.
Jake kept almost vomiting every time he got within smelling distance of the pumpkins. He wasn't just fooling around either; his gagging was completely genuine. He couldn't stop. He kept gagging and gagging.
So he ended up playing on his swing in the water oak while Phil carved a pumpkin for him. Jake didn't even design his pumpkin, but he took complete ownership of it. He couldn't stop bragging about it.
Mom was laughing and laughing, mumbling under her breath, "He's so proud of it you'd think he actually did something on it." Mom loves to tease Jake.
We were trying to find an impartial judge for the pumpkin contest.
"How about Hummy?" Sophie suggested. ("Hummy" is Mom.)
"Hmmm," I said, "is Hummy fair?"
"No!" Jake cried. "She will vote for me just because I am her grandson!"
"Yes, that's very perceptive of you, Jake," I said. "But what can we do about it?"
"Hummy," Jake said, "do not vote like that, okay? You have to vote for who is best."
"I'll try," Mom gasped, incapacitated again by laughter.
Her own pumpkin hadn't worked out because she was misled, again, by Martha Stewart. She thought she could cut star-shaped eyes using cookie cutters. "Martha said it was so easy," Mom lamented.
"Haven't you learned?" Kris said. "You can never trust Martha. Martha is a liar."
Mom couldn't get the cookie cutters to make any sort of impression on her pumpkin, even when she tried banging on them with a hammer. "And Martha's just sliced through so nicely," she said.
Rob carved the most creative, evil-looking pumpkin ever. The best part was that one eye was stitched shut.
Sophie and Mom ended up working together to judge the pumpkins. It was decided that there would be two prizes--one for the scariest pumpkin (Sophie's), and one for the cutest pumpkin (Jake's). I thought that was a very good and fair system, and Sophie was very gracious about the whole thing. She announced the winners in a very nice, professional voice, and she taped a ribbon on the side of each winning entry.
I would have loved to take a picture of the winning pumpkins with their elaborate homemade paper ribbons, but it was getting really dark. For some reason the humble-yet-fancy ribbons made me feel a little sad--I guess because they seemed so sweet and innocent. And I thought, Soon Sophie will be too old for this. This is only a sweet, passing phase. I better hold on to this moment and remember it.