Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fall frenzy~

When the people in the car next to me at the gas station asked me if I knew how to get to Smith Farm I said, "Yes. You go out the driveway and turn . . .," I pause and tap my right thigh, " . . . right."

I squint my eyes as I try to think beyond the right turn out of the gas station.

I stare at them blankly. They look expectant. "You know what? Follow me," I say. "I can get you there, but I can't explain how." The woman in the back seat nods understandingly.

I had my camera and was planning to take some fall photos. Smith Farm would be perfect.

Once there, I found myself in a throng of parents and grandparents lugging pumpkins and toddlers.

Unencumbered, I'm alone in the crowd, not part of the fall frenzy. I wander, mostly unobserved, like the hen that's scratching amidst the fading perennials for sale.

I used to bring my kids here. We'd spend an afternoon picking out perfect pumpkins to take home and carve. Things look different now that I'm not absorbed in my kids' delight.

This pumpkin fest is a business. And not even a very friendly one despite the samples of cider, and hayride to the pumpkin fields.

There are signs everywhere-- grouchy ones with sloppy handwriting and spelling mistakes. Words are underlined and exclamation points abound.

Don't. Don't! Don't!!!

I understand the owners are trying to make a living, capitalizing on the season before they shutter for the winter. But still.

"Don't feed the horses ANY thing, not even an apple or you will be fined $100.00!! (I checked the decimal point. They do mean one hundred.)

Don't walk to the pumpkin field. You MUST take the hayride. ($3.50 per person) No walking beyond this point!!

Do NOT TOUCH, clap or wave to activate the displays. Most items are for sale. Ask a farm employee if interested. Again, do not touch. Strictly enforced!!

And apparently all the signage still didn't do the trick. Another sign said: There are no excepted (sic) excuses for not reading all the signs and rules.

I got some great pictures, bought a jar of honey, and marveled that it didn't seem so contrived when the kids were young.
"It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life." P.D. James~


Barbara said...

Life in general has gotten much more complicated with caveats and rules and waivers everywhere you turn.

I sometimes long for a return to simplicity.

Josie said...

We have pumpkin fields here like that. The usual folderol, hayrides, square dancing, etc., but to be honest with you, I have never noticed the signage. I'll have to check it out the next time I'm there.

Today was a perfect fall day here in Vancouver. The leaves are at their most perfect right now. Tomorrow they will be less so.

rain said...

I know what you mean. Business..there is a pumpkin patch nereby that gives a lecture before you can pick your pumpkin - "if you kick it, you buy it, if you break a stem you buy it: we don't go there anymore! I notice the contrive-edness of it all, I wonder if it's because I'm an "older" parent?? Love the photos!

Pauline said...

I've read every post on this page - how have I missed coming more often? The piece by your son was so well written! Congratulations on having a piece published in Chicken Soup! And has your 'someday" photo exhibit happened yet?

I know what you mean about the signs at Smith Farm - there are places here too, full of "don'ts" and "mustn'ts".

Rick Bylina said...

"Sign Sign everywhere a sign

Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind

Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign"

The future foretold in that hippy song from our youth by the Five Man Electrical Band is upon us.

"And the sign said everybody welcome, come in, kneel down and pray

But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all,
I didn't have a penny to pay,

so I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign

I said thank you Lord for thinking about me, I'm alive and doing fine"

YEAH. I love fall. I'm alive and doing fine, and I hope y'all are too.

Dawn said...

I know I will sound like an old curmudgeon, but there was a time when parents would have been humiliated if their children would 'misbehave', touch things they shouldn't, go places they shouldn't.... The parents would have been circumspect and mindful and respectful of the farmer's property and teach their kids to do the same. That doesn't seem to be the case any more. Thus, the need for grumpy signs and sour attitudes. Serving the public gets more frustrating. But aside from the signs, I love living vicariously through your adventure -- I'm a long way from apple orchards and pumpkin patches and miss that autumn snap in the air.


Ruth D~ said...

Barbara~ I hear you. Simple is good.

Josie~ I'm sure there are places that find no need for signs, Josie. Or maybe you just break all the rules and don't notice. :>)

Rain~ Maybe it's not your age so much as the times. Maybe things have changed.

Pauline~ Thanks! My someday photo exhibit hasn't been officially scheduled. The next move is mine.

Rick~ I was singing along as I read this. I'd forgotten about that song. Perfect.

Dawn~ You no way sound like an old curmudgeon. Middle aged maybe.:>) But what you say is true. What is October like in Florida, as far as the Halloween spirit goes?

Bob Sanchez said...

Those crabby signs would probably make me get in my car and drive away. Don't you love the handmade signs where they use quotes for emphasis? "Don't" touch! We "mean" it!

daisies said...

even with the signs, it looks like a beautiful place to take photos :)