The Great Squash Caper

All squash are pumpkins, but not all pumpkins are squash. Pumpkins are gourds you grow that primarily wind up as jack-o-lanterns and then spend the rest of the fall and most of the winter rotting on your doorstep.

Squash on the other hand are delicious vegetables you lovingly nurture in your garden all summer, dreaming of them baked for Thanksgiving dinner. In the final ten minutes in their dish beside the turkey, they are lovingly basted with butter and then sprinkled with just a dusting of brown sugar. A double serving for everyone served up on the dinner table. And don’t worry about not getting your fair share. Because at least half the people at the table will turn their nose up at this bounty of ambrosia, while the others will take one… just to be polite.

“Eeyew! What’s that?” will be more than one juvenile response before they are shushed by a parent.

You might guess not everyone is as fond of squash as I am. Take Ken and Bob for example. Every fall for as long as they could remember, they were sent a half mile down the road for a big fall feed of squash at Baba’s. Baba was convinced that squash would clean out your digestive system of every bad thing you had eaten over the summer and set them up for a healthy winter. Bob and Ken knew it would clean out the digestive tract and were a bit hesitant to partake, but Mother insisted they make the half mile trek down the road that very day. Baba had the annual feast waiting for them that very day after school.

Protesting vocally they reluctantly headed down the road to Baba’s only a half mile away… a 10 minute walks if there was candy at the end. Today with squash expected, urgency vanished and the scorched fence posts from the recent grass fire along the road beckoned invitingly. Back then “blackface” did not have the politically negative connotations of today. And what better way to scare Baba than some spooky face decorating. The 10 minute walk took a full hour.

When Baba opened the door their “Boo!” and blood curdling screams did not have the desired effect. Baba simply grabbed both of them by and ear, marched them to the kitchen sink and with a liberal application of homemade lye soap scrubbed off the soot… and a layer of skin. Then with a switch herded them to the table where they sat and at her insistence cleaned up every last morsel of the squash served up to them.

Protestations of, “Please Baba, no more!” fell on deaf ears, the switch held at the ready.

So, Bob and Ken, Baba may be long gone, but the squash is not. Once again Len and I managed to produce a bumper crop of both butternut and buttercup beauties. Bob, I will deliver a load over to you and you can see that it is shared with Ken.

Otherwise we’ll have to expend a lot of energy storing them down in the basement….. and then even more hauling them back up to the compost after the bulk of them spoil. Let’s face it; there can be too much of a good thing.

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