“Waiting for Pumpkins,” Friend, Oct. 1989, 30–31
In the spring, Jason planted three pumpkin seeds in the corner of the garden. His sister, Ellen, planted three tomato plants, and his brother, Tom, planted a row of corn.
The warm sun shone. The rain fell. All the plants grew, but Jason’s pumpkin vines grew the most. They spread all across the garden and had large, green leaves. By July, they had beautiful orange flowers. Jason kept busy pulling the weeds from around them and watering them with the garden hose.
Ellen’s tomato plants blossomed, too, but they had only small, yellow flowers. Before long, though, little green tomatoes appeared on them. And ears of corn began to grow on Tom’s cornstalks.
“Where are my pumpkins?” Jason asked.
“Look under the leaves,” Tom told him.
Sure enough, tiny green pumpkins were growing there.
Soon the first of Ellen’s tomatoes were large and red. Mother sliced some for sandwiches. Then Tom’s ears of corn grew big and plump, and they roasted some on picnics. The tomatoes and the corn were delicious, and Jason wished that he had planted them, instead.
“Just wait,” Ellen told him. “The pumpkins will get ripe.”
The pumpkins got bigger, but they were still green and hard when Tom and Ellen started back to school. Tom’s corn had all been eaten or quick-frozen for winter meals by then.
One night there was to be a frost, so the whole family went to the garden and picked all the tomatoes—even the green ones—still on Ellen’s plants. They would be made into spaghetti sauce or preserves.
“What about my pumpkins?” Jason asked.
“They’ll be all right. Pumpkins like frost,” Father said.
The next morning Jason ran outside and across the white, frosty lawn. “My pumpkin vine is black and dead!” he cried.
“But look at your pumpkins,” Mother pointed out. “They’re turning orange.”
Soon the pumpkins were bright orange. They were huge. Father cut one from the vine, and Mother made it into delicious pumpkin pies. Then, on the Saturday before Halloween, the rest of the pumpkins were cut from the vines. A couple of them were canned for winter pies and pumpkin bread, then all but three were given to friends.
The last three were for Tom and Ellen and Jason for jack-o’-lanterns. Tom and Ellen made scary faces on theirs, but Father helped Jason cut a big grin on his. Jason was very proud—pumpkins were worth waiting for!