Father's Daze

It’s the great pumpkin (bowler), Charlie Brown

Our grandson Aiden has discovered his favorite use for a pumpkin and it has nothing to do with pies, bread, milk shakes or frappes.

It also has nothing to do with carving or any sharp instruments — which is probably a good thing at his age.W

e had Aiden for the weekend while his parents were at their monthly Army Reserve drill, so we took him to several different family-friendly events that, it so happened, we had to cover for the newspaper as well.

We started at a crime prevention and safety fair, which we figured would be right up his alley, with peas cars and fi-fi trucks, to quote Aiden.

His appetite had been whetted the night before when he watched the Homecoming parade with us. His favorite part, naturally, was the fi-fi trucks that closed out the parade — until they started blowing their sirens and he covered up his ears.

Having Aiden along with us did give his Mee-Mee a cover for collecting all the freebies everybody was giving away at the fair — although I’m not sure how she justified Aiden needing letter openers, first-aid kits, refrigerator magnets, pens and all the other things she was stuffing into the bag she made Aiden carry.

She did let Aiden keep the foam mini-football one of the local police departments was handing out, although we did have to put it away for later when he started trying to throw it around in the middle of the hall. It’s just a good thing they weren’t handing out shot puts or baseballs or he could have done some serious damage before we got it away from him.

We managed to get through the indoor portion of the fair with Aiden, but every time we went by an open door he started eyeing up all the cars and trucks parked outside.

Surprisingly, he wasn’t all that interested in climbing inside the fi-fi trucks or the peas cars — it was enough for him just to get an up close and personal look at the vehicles. We did know he wasn’t interested in blowing the sirens if he’d had the chance.

We did go inside the Survive Alive fire safety education trailer, but the lessons, while valuable, were probably lost on him. For him, it was just fun climbing up and down the stairs and climbing in and out of the window to escape the fire — although the smoke alarm going off was not a hit with him.

After we saw all the vehicles, we headed off to a Pumpkin Fest at a nearby farm.

It was there he discovered that autumnal adaptation of the state sport — pumpkin bowling.

Aiden probably could have spent the entire weekend there if we’d let him. Whether it was the chance to throw something big and orange around, or the chance to knock things down on purpose, he found that pumpkin bowling was just up his alley (pun intended).

Of course, his form wasn’t exactly ideal. He tried rolling the pumpkin but couldn’t get enough force behind to achieve what he wanted — to set the pins flying in all directions.

He soon switched to an overhand toss — pretty good, actually, considering the pumpkin was about the size of his head — and achieved more than satisfactory results that way.

Aiden also proved to be a very conscientious bowler. After he knocked all the pins down, he helped the woman running the game pick them all up and put them all in place so he could take another whack at them.

Of course, it had nothing to do with the fact that he couldn’t wait for her to gather all the pins and set them all up again so he could bowl again.

We finally convinced Aiden to step aside and let some of the other children there try their hand at pumpkin bowling, but as soon as they lost interest or wandered away to something else, he was back at it.

After a while, it was getting close to naptime — Aiden’s, not Mee-Mee and Poppie’s — so we dragged him away from the alley and to the car before he turned the pumpkin into pumpkin mush.

Suddenly the same little boy everyone had been complimenting for his nice behavior and helpfulness was screaming all the way across the farm to the driveway.

We did buy a pumpkin while we were there, but we don’t have any bowling pins, so Aiden’s pumpkinbowling career will have to wait until next fall to continue.

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