“What’s Festive About a Gray Pumpkin?”

Yesterday, I went to visit my 94 year old aunt in her senior residence in San Antonio.   I took a homemade lunch for us to share and do a little catching up.     As I walked into the rather upscale residence, I definitely felt Thanksgiving was about to explode into a grand event.  The holiday decorations from the lobby to her apartment emphasized the anticipation for the feast next week.  Every door to every apartment was decorated (some of them over the top)!   Then I got to my aunt’s door and she has nothing but the usual potted plant in front of her door.   What’s up with that?

This Thanksgiving will be the usual celebration of family and a couple of friends over at my brother’s house. We will have the usual holiday feast complete with turkey, ham, the trimmings and pie. My aunt will be joining us again this year, and I am so glad of that.  She deserves some home cooking with the family.

During lunch we went over the menus and events happening in her community for the month of December.   We talked about the quality of food they serve in the dining room.  She said they focus more on the “dress code” than the food because at dinner, no open collars are allowed. Dining attire only.  (not exactly sure what that means)

Her opinion of the food was that it was inconsistently good. Some days are better than others, but for the most part only the “edible” rating applied.  She did say she has grown in respect for the food prep because they recently took a tour of the kitchen and got to see the huge challenge the staff faces everyday.  She said this one kitchen has to supply 3 meals a day to a facility that is roughly 26 acres of residents.    Now that is impressive considering I forgot to bring my specialty salad dressing for our salads and I was only feeding the two of us.

She was also not happy about the holiday dinner because it was going to be on December 6th (way too early).   I think she was mistaking it for the Christmas dinner which I predict is a very different traditional meal.     The holiday dinner consists of your choice of entree – duck confit, lobster, or prime rib, and sides that are very indicative of a special celebratory meal.  The choices were overshadowed by the date being so early.    I explained to her I think that is not the Christmas meal offering but more of a special holiday celebration.  The thought is still running in her mind that this is Christmas dinner and her daughter who is going to be visiting for the holidays is going to miss the special meal.

Next came the comments about the all the decorations that were over the top and getting more so every year.  She was right.  I started seeing Lowe’s, Home Depot and Big Lots all bringing in the Christmas decorations way before Halloween ever took shape.   Who started this crazy trend that decorations had to be over the top?  Is this a Chip and Joanna Gaines thing or did Martha Stewart start us down this path?  I am sure Pinterest had a WHOLE LOT to do with this.   It seems to be that the meaning of Thanksgiving gets lost among the twinkly lights, the ceramic pumpkins, sunflowers and scarecrows resting among yards and yards of special orange ribbon.  Makes you wonder.

My aunt was not too impressed with the decor.    She comes from a different time when the holidays were about family getting together and sharing a special meal.   It was the time and experience, not the stress of making sure every decoration was in it’s optimal place.

Then, with a puzzled look on her face she asked me, “What is so festive about a gray pumpkin?”    With all the bling of oranges and browns, I didn’t notice a gray pumpkin.  I told her it’s part of the decorating wave of the past couple years where everything has to be 50 shades of gray. I told her they probably painted it gray because it’s trendy.  After a little research this morning I found out they are a variety of pumpkin and they are grown this way on purpose.

Once lunch was finished and the kitchen tidied up, I left to go do a couple of errands in the city.    On my way out, I spotted the gray pumpkins out by seating area in the front of the building.  There they were – two blue gray pumpkins were sitting beside the pillars next to the driveway.

She was right.  There was nothing really festive about it.   They kind of looked like pumpkins who caught a cold in the pumpkin patch and weren’t feeling very well.  However, I give the staff an A for effort in decorating the lobby and gathering rooms.   As one gets older, the marking of time and holidays grows in importance.  Kudos!  Thanksgiving decorations are a beautiful reminder of family, good will and gratitude for the abundance we have.

But that gray pumpkin…..


Posted by Kristi Curry

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