Good morning and greetings, Sunrise Santa Cruz fans. That’s right, boys and squirrels, on Saturday night, we celebrated the very holistic holiday we North Americans refer to as Halloween, where our children leave home with empty shopping bags and pillow cases, and for the mere price of donning a costume and saying those three magic words, return with enough bite-sized loot to finance a small, non-violent coup in Central America.
For my golden-haired daughter, this means enough chocolate to sail right thru Valentine’s Day and beyond. We’re talking snack size Hershey’s, Nestle’s Crunch, M & M’s, Almond Joys, Butterfingers, an apple and some cash given by neighbors who forgot to go and and purchase the necessary ammunition to ward off these sugar-driven young soldiers of good fortune. I’m just glad this country is not dealing with any obesity issues or this time-honored tradition of giving our children boatloads of candy during flu season might raise a few eyebrows.
As a child, this day was always greatly anticipated, much like my first day of law school, my last visit to the orthodontist and my bris. The planting of the chocolate, the gathering of the chocolate and then the emptying out of the chocolate was akin to a religious experience. Gazing upon those mini-mountains of full-sized packaged delights, lined up by brand grouping gave me a strong sense of accomplishment, something similar to what those Eygptian slaves must have experienced when they finished building the Pyramids.
And like NFL coaching, this holiday teaches children how to diagram a game plan, follow thru and experience closure, as when their parents say, “That’s enough, no more trick or treating!” And the beautiful thing is, if your child’s bag gets filled up and is too heavy to carry, they can always come home, dump it out and begin their pilgramage again. Which brings to mind the Steve Martin line, “Always carry a litter bag in your car, because if it gets filled up, you can always throw it out the window.” It’s an equal opportunity holiday that was embraced by the Bush administration’s “No Child Left Behind Without Candy” program. It also teaches our youth to share and share alike, as in “Gimme a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar.”
So in honor of this chocolately delicious holiday, we are photographically heading four miles up the north coast to the U Pick Em Pumpkin Patch at Rodoni Farms. This palatial plot of pumpkin pleasantries is located across the road from Four Mile Beach, which means as you tour the farm you can see the waves crashing against the rocks along the coast. Nothing like having a white water view while searching for your future carving companion.
The first shot features the pumpkins on the same day they were plucked from the growing fields on the other side of Highway 1. Amongst this orange crush, you can see that the freshly-snipped stems are still green, which is the same color my face turned the last time I went out for a sailboat ride on the bay in choppy waters. To quote the Jewish Defense League slogan on the possibility of future sailing trips, “Never Again.”
We then move on to a group of turban squash, which can be made into a creamy soup, distinctive bookends or lovely holiday earmuffs. The next image features the incredible, edible variety of squashes that are available on the pumpkin front at old McRodoni’s. Until I ventured to this place of squash madness, when I thought pumpkins, I thought orange. You know, like, orange you glad I didn’t say bananas? But much like many of the answers on the math portion of my SAT’s, I was wrong.
These red pumpkins are LaRouge/Cinderella, a deep red, French baking pumpkin. Personally, I just like to fill them with brie cheese and surrender. The green are Fairy Tales, which taste like butterscotch. We close with my personal favorite, the gray Jaradhale from Australia. Along with kangaroo parmesan, they are a staple in the Aussie’s diet as they eat these bright orange flesh beauties like potatoes. In summation, as the lovely Donna, who oversees this coastal establishment told me last week, “Everything here is grown to be eaten. And keep your hands off that spaghetti squash.”
Now here are a few more fun facts about our friend the pumpkin. They were once thought to be a cure for freckles. Pumpkins are 90% water and 10% talk. The name pumpkin originated from “pepon,” the greek word for large melon or Rush Limbaugh. The largest pumpkin pie ever baked was five feet in diameter, weighed 350 pounds, took six hours to bake and was recruited to play tackle for the Cleveland Browns. And finally, for those inquiring minds, the world record pumpkin was a 1,689-pound giant grown in 2007 by Joe Jutras of Rhode Island. And just think about how big it could have gotten if had a larger state to grow in.
On to our late night fun fanfare. “In a speech in Canada, former President George W. Bush said he was proud that when he was in office he didn’t sell his soul, which is true. He rented it to Dick Cheney, who then sublet it to Halliburton, but it’s totally different.” –Jay Leno “Yesterday, former President George W. Bush made his debut as a motivational speaker. Afterwards, Bush said, ‘The crowd was so motivated, many of them left halfway through.’” –Conan O’Brien “Speaking of former President Bush, he gave a motivational speech in Florida yesterday. Bush spoke for half an hour and said he ‘just hopes’ his ‘words were inspirationistic.’” –Jimmy Fallon
“It’s a great day for America, everybody. It is our secretary of state’s birthday. Happy birthday, Hillary. President Obama asked her what she wanted, she said ‘Your job.’” –Craig Ferguson “President Obama is in the news. He’s been criticized for only playing sports with other men. He’s been taking some slack for that lately, so yesterday, he played golf with one of his top female advisers or as Fox News reported it, ‘Obama plays a round with another woman.’” –Conan O’Brien “This weekend, President Obama declared a national emergency in response to the growing threat of swine flu. So I guess I better stop licking doorknobs for real this time. In response to Obama’s declaration, the Republican leaders this morning came out in support of the swine flu.” –Jimmy Kimmel
“Did you hear this? President Obama has approved a new plan to pay members of the Taliban to switch sides and support the United States. Yeah, in a related story, 10 million unemployed Americans just joined the Taliban.” –Conan O’Brien “A new poll from CNN found that more than 70% of Americans said that Sarah Palin is not qualified to be president in 2012. When she heard that, she was like, ‘Yeah, but that still leaves 50%.’” –Jimmy Fallon “A 66-year-old deputy U.S. Attorney General in South Carolina, named Roland Corning, lost his job, got fired, after police discovered him in a cemetery with an 18-year-old stripper, a bag of sex toys, and a bottle of Viagra. … But to be fair, people do grieve differently” –Jay Leno
That’s it for our Halloween special. If you want to visit the Rodoni Farms Pumpkin Patch, it will remain open on the honor system thru Christmas. So if you’re looking to find that special someone a holiday gift, nothing says I love you like a variety of winter squashes. Coming up next week we’ll take a look at a sunset that will knock at least one of your socks off. We’ll catch you down the third base line. Aloha, mahalo and later, World Series fans.