Have you ever had an Amish woman laugh at you? Like, almost snorting from laughing so hard? Well, I didn’t have to try all that hard. My grace and luck created just the right scene.
It was a beautiful fall day in southern Minnesota. My best friend and I were traveling along a winding and hilly part of the highway in Amish country when we spotted the sign for an orchard. We had just finished up a weekend visiting our friends at college in northern Iowa when we decided it would be the perfect stop to break up the drive.
Spotting a sign that said, “Pick Your Own Pumpkins,” we started hiking up a very steep hill. Getting to the top left us a bit breathless, but the view was worth it. It was just the two of us, enjoying a sunny, autumn activity.
I scoured the field until I found the perfect pumpkin. After picking it up, I was disgusted to find a huge slug on it. Quickly, I set it down on the ground to roll my pumpkin around to wipe the slug off
All of a sudden, I lost hold of my pumpkin.
Time seemed to be in slow motion as that pumpkin started rolling. As I stared in disbelief, Anne shouted out, “Ruuuuuuuuuuuun!”
Thus began the great pumpkin race.
I was not built for speed. I’m like an awkward puppy that never made it fully out of adolescence and was left with huge size ten feet that don’t seem to fit with the rest of my body. My torso resembles the shape of a pumpkin, so I am top heavy with chicken legs.
This pumpkin had the clear advantage given its height, surface texture, and perfectly round exterior. Plus, it got a head start. The sheer physics of me was not great for aerodynamics, but that pumpkin was doing a great job of picking up more speed as it tumbled.
It had been years since I had run full speed down a steep incline, so I was a bit out of practice. I would like to claim that we were pacing each other starting out, but that pumpkin smoked me as I desperately pumped my knees and arms trying to catch up to it.
To my horror, it looked like it was going to roll right across the highway. In my head, I pictured it hurtling into a car and creating a huge dent before exploding into a puddle of pumpkin pie filling. Thankfully, at the last minute, it hit just the right bump on the ground and veered across the entrance into a deep ditch.
I slowed down as a car was driving in the gravel parking lot. I came to a stop, huffing and puffing and waiting for the car to pass by. Instead, the windows rolled down. A hysterical couple managed to gasp out, “Did you lose your pumpkin, honey?”
For the next several minutes I waded through the ditch filled with tall grass, but could not locate the runaway pumpkin. I ended up picking out a new, smaller pumpkin, as Anne snickered in the background.
As we were walking inside to pay, an Amish woman who was washing produce saw me and burst out laughing. I’ve never seen an Amish person laugh that hard before. I haven’t had too much experience in interacting with Amish folk, but usually they appear to be more reserved. Not this woman after witnessing my efforts at a footrace with produce.
Once in line, I shifted my pumpkin to one arm to pull out my wallet. A man behind me asked, “Do you want me to hold your pumpkin for you?”
“No, I’ve got it. Thank you!”
“Are you sure? Cause you sure didn’t have the last one!” More cackles erupted.
It’s not often that I make my way down that stretch of highway these days. When I do, I can’t help but reminisce about the one that got away.