How was your weekend? If we could have coffee and a visit I would tell you about this. My son’s family invited me to go with them to the Pumpkin Show in Circleville, Ohio, last Saturday. On that day, in that little town, I witnessed something really beautiful!
Let me set the scene for you. It was crowded, I mean packed, with people. This is what happens when the world gets invited to a small town to celebrate bigger-than- huge pumpkins. Where all food trucks have the star ingredient of pumpkin added to their recipes and wearing the color orange is what makes you blend in no matter where you’re from. It didn’t hurt things any to have the most gorgeous autumn weather the good Lord could have arranged and the ability to attend an event that has been held for 113 years in a row with no admission fee.
Except the parking, of course. This event is an opportunity for those locals to make a little extra cash and who could blame them? After all, they had their community bombarded by tourists and turned upside down on account of an orange fruit*.
*Side bar: I had to do a little research to see if a pumpkin was a vegetable or a fruit. Webster says it’s a fruit. However, because it is not sweet like other vegetables that are technically called fruits, such as tomatoes, beans, green peppers, etc., the pumpkin can also be considered a vegetable.
Okay, let’s get back to the parking. The closer you get to the action, the more the price goes up. We saw five dollars, then eight dollars and then ten dollars as you got closer to where you wanted to be. But that was really all the money you “had” to spend to enjoy this great show. You could walk right up to the prize winners and take your picture with them. It’s not everyday you get to see an over 1,400 pound pumpkin. You could watch a very talented pumpkin carver make his magic and there was a free concert in the town square with smiles and friendly faces all around. I enjoyed seeing those wearing the special pumpkin sweaters and t-shirts that gave away the fact that this was a yearly pilgrimage for them.
My grandkids called it the “Pumpkin Party” which I thought was adorable. So let me tell you about what I loved about the “Pumpkin Party.” I saw grown-ups play concession games with their kids. And I looked at this in a whole different way than I used to as a younger adult. I used to think it was a waste of money and couldn’t see that maybe this was a positive memory for a child that may have never seen this side of their parent or grandparent. I saw kids patiently wait their turns for tickets and rides and then the sweetest thing of all… at the concert.
“From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” Psalm 8:2
At the front of the stage were children, dancing with pure joy to the peppy country music that was being played. My granddaughter joined them and it was such a delight to watch these children, who did not know each other, enjoy the dance together. On my left I saw a little Asian family. A precious little girl, holding on to her Daddy’s fingers, moving to the those twangy tunes that seemed to me so strange given her ethnicity. To my right, another family that appeared to be from the other side of the world as well, clapping and toe tapping to “Chattahoochee” and “Kaw-Liga.” Their little boy doing the cutest thing with his swaying body. Everybody enjoying this day, getting along, being one.
Dear reader, don’t you wish everyone would put down their differences and take their lead from the little ones who see things so simply? It was a party and it didn’t matter where you came from or what you looked like. It didn’t matter if you had a lot or a little. It was a kind of no judgement zone and I loved it. I wondered why we all could not be more childlike. The scripture says God ordains praise from their lips. This praise silences foes and avengers.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
From what I could see that day, in this small town, we all wanted the same thing. To enjoy life with our family and friends. I just have to say “thank you” little Circleville town, for reminding me that God’s love is like a circle, with no beginning and no end. Because He has no beginning and no end. And He is love. (1 John 4:8b) This circle includes everyone. His love is for all people. God’s love encircles us with mercy and grace. May your little town continue to have pumpkin parties for another 100 years, and find us coming together time and again, over a pumpkin.