Pumpkin Thief

by Amy Issadore Bloom

pumpkin noteI recently found out that my friend Becky had her fifteen minutes of fame by writing a witty note to a “squash thief” who stole her two year old’s pumpkin from the front steps.

It went viral. You can check it out here.

Her simple act of defending her son – and using curse words to illustrate the point – created somewhat of a sensation. The story reminded me of the time my friends and I took part in a pumpkin theft.

We were giddy walking home from a costume party as we passed Eastern Market. Back then, the farm market was kind of eery after hours, and we usually walked by quickly. But this night, we stopped to notice a large pile of pumpkins left out. Sharon grabbed the biggest one, and took off for our apartment several blocks away.

She ran with that heavy squash down the street, and through the busy intersection. She didn’t stop to acknowledge the young politically ambitious interns stumbling out of the Hill bars, or the panhandlers outside of CVS.

Out of our close-knit group that evening, Sharon seemed the least likely to do something like this. Jen was a willing participant, instigator and cheerleader most of the time. And Heather, well, she could twirl her hair and get someone to steel a car. Sharon is the friend who advised me to wear my  “train face” when I complained about the weirdos who sat next to me on the trip to visit my family in Philly. (This was before iPhones when people used to make eye contact and engage in something called a conversation.)

When Sharon grabbed the huge round pumpkin and started running in an unlikely burst of energy, it was a satisfying moment for all of us. We encouraged her, through fits of giggles -because we had too much to drink, because we were in our twenties, because we grew up together, because we were in Halloween costumes.

That memory comes back to me so vividly, and with such a comforting fondness for my friends and life fifteen years ago. I had almost forgotten about it until I heard about poor Tommy’s stolen pumpkin, and the note that went viral.

It’s very likely that the pumpkin we “stole” that night was left out for the taking. Who would leave something in such a public place otherwise? It’s not like we took it from someone’s front porch. Right?

I guess it’s best not to over-think it. That’s exactly what keeps people like Sharon and me from doing spontaneous and ridiculous things, or Becky from writing that note.

So, to my old and new friends – thank you for being full of surprises, and for reminding me to act (and write) in the moment once in a while.

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