COLUMNISTS

Visiting with grandkids is worth the long drive

Susan Manzke
Eli, Grandma Susan, Arianna, Rachel and Wyatt in front.

Today the weather isn’t perfect. A brisk north wind blew me home from my walk with my dog Sunny. When inside again it seemed a good time to work at my computer and write. It is also a way I can relive a fun time with three of my grandchildren.

My daughter Rachel had asked if I wanted to take the two-hour drive out to her home. I debated this. Two hours driving alone isn’t so much fun these days. If Bob was with me we’d both be searching the horizon for harvested fields. The day before my trip I checked back with Rachel, making sure nothing had changed on their end.

At eight Saturday morning, I had my chores done and was heading off to visit my youngest daughter and her family.

As it turned out it was the day before Halloween and Wyatt decided he was ready to carve his pumpkin. I was ready to sit back and watch.

Rachel took out a huge kitchen knife and opened the pumpkin’s head. She then handed Wyatt a spoon to scoop out the guts.

Using a tablespoon, Wyatt was able to bring out only a few seeds so Rachel handed him the largest spoon in her cupboard.

More seeds went from pumpkin to bowl, but then Wyatt stopped. The gooey innards had touched his fingers. He cringed and pulled away.

We encouraged him to try again but he wouldn’t put his hands inside the pumpkin.

Wyatt, Eli, Arianna, and Grandma Susan working to clean out pumpkin guts.

Older sister, Arianna took her turn at scooping out the pumpkin. She got a good portion out. As she got to the bottom, I tried holding the pumpkin over the bowl so Arianna could get the last seeds out.

I took my turn cleaning out the innards. By then only the stringy bits were clinging to the inside wall.

I tried using the spoon but ended up loosening the remaining strands with my fingernails. Eventually, Rachel took over and cleaned out the last fragments.

Since this was Wyatt’s pumpkin, it was up to him to design the face and tell his mother where she should cut.

I was surprised that Wyatt didn’t want a face at all. He wanted bars. He planned to make the large pumpkin into a jail where another much smaller pumpkin would be incarcerated.

Internet images were used to give Rachel an idea of where she should cut, with Wyatt’s permission. While she made the jail bars, he took a marker to a small pumpkin and got him ready to enter the jail.

Wyatt and his jailed pumpkin.

A couple of the cutout pieces went into the bottom of the pumpkin to raise the head of the little one where it would be more visible.

With a few little lights inside, the jail cell glowed, showing off its prisoner.

I was impressed with the whole operation. We laughed a lot as we worked, especially at Wyatt’s reactions when he touched the pumpkin guts.

Entertainment came next as Arianna and Eli played their violas for me. Arianna started and ended their concert at the piano. It’s so great hearing their progress with their music. I’m so happy they continue to enjoy playing and showing off for grandma.

After lunch, we took a walk around their neighborhood. Halloween decorations were everywhere, so unlike my one lonely pumpkin on the porch at home.

My drive home was longer. That afternoon I decided to avoid the traffic on 41 for the peace of country roads. It was a lovely end to my day.

Now, attention is turning to Thanksgiving. Last year it was a virtual family gathering. This year we’re trying to find a time we can be together. Fingers crossed that a date can be arranged when most of us can meet again around the Thanksgiving table.

Susan Manzke, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.