The Great Pumpkin—Exploring the Senses

horror tales by Barbara Custer and other authors

Amidst my counting masks, paper products, and other supplies to wither the Great Pandemic, my butterfly Mylar balloon whispered, “How about baking a cheesecake? A pumpkin cheesecake. After all, it’s that time of the year.”

“What time of the year?” I rolled my eyes.

“The Great Pumpkin’s coming.”

My balloon had it right. So I started the balloon floating with a pumpkin-flavored latte at Starbucks. Next, a trip to Bath & Body Works for pumpkin-scented soap and hand sanitizer. If I have to use it, I might as well smell like pumpkin.

I’ve got pumpkin-flavored coffee, pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin Cheerios. The pumpkin cheesecake tasted better than I remember. I will make a stop at Wawa for the pumpkin smoothies. I’m going for all the senses, so I’ve got room deodorizers and beads to keep the pumpkin scent going between baking brigades. There’s pumpkin-flavored ice cream for sale somewhere. I’m also contemplating a recipe for pumpkin soup. Last year, when I volunteered at the Ben Wilson Senior Center, someone made pumpkin soup. It smelled oh, so good, but it was made with regular flour, so my version will be GF.

Why the fixation with pumpkin? The smell of pumpkin is associated with Thanksgiving and autumnal harvest — a historically prosperous time of year. Pumpkin connotes comfort and warmth as we head into fall and colder weather. Pumpkin pie has become a traditional family recipe, so I think family and love when I smell pumpkin. Contemplate a famous scene in Proust’s masterpiece, “Remembrance Of Things Past,” where the narrator eats a madeleine cookie, and it seems as if he’s transported back to another time and place. Perhaps this happens to me when I have my pumpkin treats. Pumpkin spice takes me back to Thanksgiving as a child, when my mom baked pumpkin pie from scratch. In those days, we didn’t have to worry about Corona. Mom and Pop stores were thriving, and you didn’t have to go through a lot of rigmarole to buy stuff so long as you had the cash.

It could be I just love the smell of pumpkin spice.

With that in mind, I’ll keep my eyes open for pumpkin-shaped Mylar balloons, and I shall continue to enjoy my pumpkin treats through Thanksgiving. Do you have any favorite pumpkin treats? I’d love to hear your stories.

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About Barbara Custer

Author of: Twilight Healer Steel Rose Life Raft: Earth City of Brotherly Death Close Liaisons Infinite Sight When Blood Reigns Infinite Sight Publisher / Editor of Night to Dawn Books & Magazine
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8 Comments

  1. I love this post, Barbara, and your explanations about the different ways we could enjoy pumpkin. Wish I could say I liked pumpkin, but the truth is that I dislike it intensely in any way, shape, or form, despite the fact that you give many examples of its versatility and desirability. I believe your balloons like pumpkin too. Maybe its because fall is my least favorite season with the leaves, the thoughts of winter coming, and having to hibernate indoors. On second thought, maybe I’ll try some pumpkin cheesecake. This time, because of your post, I’ll try to keep an open mind.

    • I love my pumpkin cheesecake. And you’re right, my balloons love pumpkin and fall. But I too hate winter, and this one is supposed to be nasty, especially around February and March. Barbara of the Balloons

  2. I always associate this time of year with the Charlie Brown movie about the Great Pumpkin. I haven’t had a pumpkin pie since I left Bathurst. The pie in question was made in our winter and I believe there was nutmeg on top. That’s going back thirty years when it comes to the pie and even further with the movie. Right now in Australia we are in our spring heading for our summer. Lots of birds nesting and some turning psycho to protect those nests. I saw a kingfisher the other day close to where I live. I got some good shots of him with my camera. Since then only fleeting glimpses of blue so I know he’s still around. Spring is a marvelous time in Australia, especially on the south coast of New South Wales. You take a walk expecting to see nothing, hoping to see everything. Sometimes you are surprised by what you see and can photograph. One way of still feeling part of everything and not being too old for wonder.

    • I think about Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin. I haven’t had pumpkin pie in a long time. Maybe next year I’ll make one–they have a gluten free version. It sounds like the birds are giving you a lot of pleasure, and this is good. Barbara of the Balloons

  3. When you have the chance, you have to stock up! I like pumpkin soup, British style I guess, with lots of curry spices.

  4. I didn’t know they had pumpkin cheerios. Great post.

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