Grumpy the Gator

In Grumpy the Gator, a group of children playing encounter a grumpy alligator. The story teaches children to always keep a safe distance from animals in the wild, and to find an adult if they see an alligator.

Grumpy the Gator

Its Always A Story With The Hendersons

Smashed Pumpkin Face

A strong breeze scattered leaves from yard to yard. Decorative flags danced in the air. Temperatures lowered to the upper 40’s last night. Autumn has arrived in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Will this cool weather stay or is this only a tease of what is to come?

One of our favorite family activities in October is carving pumpkins. In Virginia, those orange delights could be carved as early as September. Not in South Carolina. Warm weather stays longer in the south, so pumpkins need to be carved later in October so they will last.

When grandson Rowan asks to work on a pumpkin, that’s what we do, even if carving time should be put off for a few weeks. With the outside of the heavy orange pumpkin washed and dried, the time had come to create a jack o’lantern. This one will wear a scary face. Mimi and Rowan clean out the inside of the pumpkin. The guts are yucky and a decision is made for Mimi to finish that project. Once everything was clean, Bop drew the eyebrows, eyes, nose, and pointy teeth. Next, Bop went to work making small cuts in the pumpkin while paying special attention to the details.

When the jack o’lantern was completed, Bop carried the heavy creation outside to display in the flower bed. Yellow mums would highlight the fall decorations. Beautiful!

All was well for a few days. I put a battery operated tealight into the pumpkin each night. Rowan was happy with the jack o’lantern. Alan and I were pleased with how well the decoration looked in the front flower bed.

Then…it happened. Evening arrived and before nightfall, I went to put the tea light in the pumpkin. Lifting the stem of the lid, I was shocked at the yucky sight before me. Our nice creation had begun to mold and shrink. The once large, firm orange pumpkin was starting to deteriorate into a piece of mush. Looking at the front of the pumpkin, I noticed a smashed pumpkin face. Yikes!!!!
The beautiful carved decoration was shrinking and turning into a soft blob. Oh no!!!!
There was only one thing to do. That orange smashed pumpkin face had to be taken out of the flower bed and disposed of.

I wondered how Rowan would take the news. The next day, when he arrived, he asked “Where is my pumpkin?” I explained what happened. He didn’t get upset. He said, “That’s okay Mimi. We can get another one. This time we can draw a happy face on it for you.” Sweet boy.

When I asked God to help me find a lesson in this experience, He reminded me that there is a time for everything, even pumpkin carving. Even if we had to dispose of that pumpkin, the time shared with Rowan was priceless. Bop and I are looking forward to carving a pumpkin with Rowan and his baby sister Eden.

Do you decorate for autumn? What is your favorite fall activity?

FYI…the picture above shows our new pumpkin without a face. 🙂

Have a blessed day and put on a sweater if it’s chilly in your neck of the woods,
Mimi aka Melissa

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32 Comments
  • Jill Weatherholt
    Posted at 10:51h, 20 October Reply

    Aw…I love sweet Rowan’s response to the squished pumpkin. I’m so happy you’re able to spend this special time with him, Melissa. I love autumn, but like you said, the cool and crisp temps are slow to arrive here in the south. Lovely post! xo

    • Melissa G. Henderson
      Posted at 12:53h, 20 October Reply

      Thank you Jill. There’s always a fun time with Rowan. 🙂 Have a blessed day!

  • dscales24
    Posted at 13:32h, 20 October Reply

    Melissa, any time spent with grandkids is precious! So happy you have Rowan and his little sister.

    • Melissa G. Henderson
      Posted at 14:06h, 20 October Reply

      Yes, I agree. Anytime spent with grandkids is precious. I always learn something new. haha! Have a blessed day. 🙂

  • Jessica Brodie
    Posted at 14:06h, 20 October Reply

    How sweet!! That always seems to happen with our pumpkins, ha. As you say, there is a time for everything, even pumpkin carving… and God has perfect timing!

    • Melissa G. Henderson
      Posted at 14:07h, 20 October Reply

      Amen. God’s timing is always perfect. I’m glad God reminded me there is a time for everything, even pumpkin carving. We created special memories with that pumpkin. haha! Have a blessed day! 🙂

  • Kimberly Rose Johnson
    Posted at 14:25h, 20 October Reply

    Yes, we decorate for fall, but only inside. Your grandson sounds like such a sweet kid, with a great attitude.

    • Melissa G. Henderson
      Posted at 14:30h, 20 October Reply

      We decorate more for fall than we ever have in the past. haha! Yes, Rowan is a sweetheart. Have a blessed day! 🙂

  • June Foster
    Posted at 14:44h, 20 October Reply

    You and Bop are lovely grandparents. Rowan and Eden are very fortunate grandchildren. I love Rowan’s sweet frame of mind, too. Love your posts!

    • Melissa G. Henderson
      Posted at 17:05h, 20 October Reply

      Thank you June. Alan and I are truly enjoying living close to the grandkids and their parents, of course. haha! Have a blessed day! 🙂

  • readywriterbr
    Posted at 15:09h, 20 October Reply

    What a sweet story! You have a mature grandson, based on his response to what happened to his jack o’ lantern. The last time I had a jack o’ lantern I lived in Maryland and was teaching kindergarten.

    • Melissa G. Henderson
      Posted at 17:06h, 20 October Reply

      Thank you. We truly learned a lesson about waiting to carve the pumpkins in the south. haha! Have a blessed day! 🙂

  • JD Wininger
    Posted at 15:12h, 20 October Reply

    Sometimes I wish I knew small children in the low country; just so I could send them to pseudo-Mimi and Bop’s house. Oh the joy you bring; and the valuable lessons you learn and share. Thank you for brightening my day ma’am. A wonderful lesson, delivered in your trademark gentle style. God’s blessings my friend.

    • Melissa G. Henderson
      Posted at 17:08h, 20 October Reply

      J.D. Thank you so much for your kind words. We do enjoy living in this neighborhood full of children. Rowan and Eden have lots of friends here. Have a blessed day! 🙂

  • Yvonne Morgan
    Posted at 16:35h, 20 October Reply

    Wow, that really went bad quickly but I am glad you created the wonderful memories with your grandson. They are a treasure that won’t mold. Thanks for sharing this story.

    • Melissa G. Henderson
      Posted at 17:09h, 20 October Reply

      Thank you. Yes, Yvonne, the treasure of a carving pumpkin with Rowan won’t mold. I love how you phrased that. Have a blessed day! 🙂

  • Ava Pennington
    Posted at 21:40h, 20 October Reply

    The pumpkin might be gone, but the memories will last!

  • Nancy E. Head
    Posted at 00:53h, 21 October Reply

    We love Trick or Treat time. Pumpkins to carve, pumpkin cupcakes to bake!

  • Melinda Viergever Inman
    Posted at 04:29h, 21 October Reply

    Such a sweet story! The adjustments with pumpkins to a warmer climate where Jack o’Lanterns can become mushy so fast is but one fall drawback to life in the South! No cool weather here!

    • Melissa G. Henderson
      Posted at 12:50h, 21 October Reply

      You are right Melinda. The warmer climate makes the pumpkins mushy fast. Have a blessed day! 🙂

  • Lisa Quintana
    Posted at 18:51h, 21 October Reply

    I can’t wait to have a grandchildren! Our kids are grown now and unmarried. So I definitely miss the pumpkin carving days of autumn. Thanks for sharing your sweet story!

    • Melissa G. Henderson
      Posted at 12:30h, 22 October Reply

      Thank you Lisa. My husband and I are truly enjoying living close to the grandchildren. Have a blessed day! 🙂

  • Diana Derringer
    Posted at 19:02h, 21 October Reply

    Special memories and a lesson too—life doesn’t get much better than that.

    • Melissa G. Henderson
      Posted at 12:31h, 22 October Reply

      Yes, Diana, special memories and a lesson too. haha! Have a blessed day! 🙂

  • Lynn J Simpson
    Posted at 13:56h, 24 October Reply

    It is often about the experience rather than the outcome when it comes to experiences with our grandchildren! That is a lovely pumpkin to carve!

    • Melissa G. Henderson
      Posted at 19:02h, 24 October Reply

      I love that! Yes, the experience is often more important than the outcome. Thank you for the reminder. Have a blessed day Lynn! 🙂

  • Karen Jurgens Harrison
    Posted at 05:58h, 25 October Reply

    I love your story, dear Mimi! Your grandson is full of understanding and kindness for such a young boy–how blessed you and your husband are! And Rowan is right–you can always buy a new pumpkin. Happy pumpkin carving! xoxo

    • Melissa G. Henderson
      Posted at 11:59h, 25 October Reply

      Thank you Karen. Rowan is very compassionate. I wonder what adventures we will enjoy this week. Have a blessed day! 🙂

  • Barbara Harper
    Posted at 21:33h, 07 November Reply

    We never carved pumpkins until our daughter-in-law came into the family and wanted to try it. Now it has become a tradition–though this year we painted instead of carving. We face the same problem here in TN–when it’s still warm outside, the pumpkins get moldy fast.

    What a sweet lesson to learn and pass on to your grandson. For many years, I wanted to keep everything my kids made. But who has room for that, hah! I finally learned that some things serve their purpose, then it’s ok to let them go and just enjoy the memories.

    • Melissa G. Henderson
      Posted at 20:54h, 09 November Reply

      Thank you Barbara. I love how God sends lessons even with pumpkins. Have a blessed week! 🙂

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