Winter Squash

This is as festive as it got chez moi this Halloween season. We used to have very few trick-or-treaters, just a handful of little kids with their parents hovering protectively at the front gate. Suddenly in the last year or so, our neighborhood seems to have been discovered, and this year we had a steady stream of children and teenagers (Though my husband insists that when a boy is old enough to shave and his voice has changed, he’s probably too old for trick-or-treating) ringing the doorbell. I was amazed at how polite they were; perhaps only one or two did not say thank you after choosing their candy. (“Oh, come on… take some more,” I kept urging them, jiggling the bowl encouragingly, not wanting to be left with anything that I’d feel duty-bound to eat myself after the fact.)

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One tiny girl, presented with the bowl of candy and told to help herself, carefully picked up, inspected, and then put back nearly every fun-size bar in the bowl before making her choices. I mean, she took so long that her gaggle of little friends started rolling their eyes and noodging her to get going. Because, you know, the neighbors down the street would surely run out of the good stuff right before they arrived if they didn’t get a move on that very minute. She was so cute, I just stood there watching her deliberate rather than grab a handful of candy, fling it into her plastic pumpkin tote bag, and send her on her way.

But I wondered later what her indecisiveness portends for her as an adult. Will she always be so paralyzed when confronted with many choices? I could imagine her shopping for shoes twenty years from now, with multiple pairs in every style arrayed before her, and the salesperson near tears as she hemmed and hawed over which ones to buy. Or lipstick. Just imagine the awful potential… that child may someday own enough lipsticks to open her own make-up salon, simply because she couldn’t choose just one. Fascinating. Has there ever been a study on how children choose Halloween candy? I bet Nestles would pony up for that one.

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While the Japanese maple above leaves me distinctly underwhelmed by its fall foliage, the dogwood below (Dramatic leaf color! Shiny red berries!) does not disappoint.

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