Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pumpkins on the Mountain

Autumn is bittersweet around here. Neither Dana or I are fans of the cooler weather because it means socks and layers which are not conducive to our lifestyle. No, thank you. But there are some nice things to look forward to: leaves turning, open-air sleeping, cooking, and harvest! Living in the 'burbs, it is nice to get out to the country for the old fashioned fall goodies.
With Kelly & Josh Stockstill, 2010
Two years ago we went to Cox Farms (http://www.coxfarms.com) with some friends and had a wonderful time. We bought pumpkins and apple butter, took a tractor ride, and enjoyed the farm atmosphere. Last year we stayed more local, opting for a nearby nursery with a festival. My current wheelchair was still fairly new and we had our SUV. We were two strikes down already when we got there because of chair malfunctions and other *stuff. When the wheels wouldn't cooperate we were fed up! A bad day :-(

This year we were looking forward to our rebound. After all, as our faithful readers know, this has been such a great year after the previous year's frustrations. Saturday Dana was eager to go out to Hollin Farms (http://www.hollinfarms.com/) in Delaplane. She has been talking about this for weeks. Every night it's "pumpkin"-this and "pumpkin"-that. We even ate pumpkin waffles (DELICIOUS, by the way) and pumpkin creamer in our coffee. It was like Superbowl Sunday anticipation.
The drive was BEAUTIFUL. Tom Kierein said this weekend was peak, and the trees didn't disappoint. The colorful mountains with aged farmhouses and roaming livestock were idyllic. We even brought our puggle Brokaw along to roam around. All of us were eager to go sniffing around the farm.

Somewhere on the drive up the winding gravel road Dana and I each had a, "oh, crap" moment. This wasn't typical farm land. We've been to the country and gotten around pretty good. This was different. The pumpkins were literally growing on the side of a mountain.
Okay, it's not Everest, but the field was steep and rocky. Even turned up, my wheels couldn't keep up. So, Dana had to push me over the obstacles. We parked and she and Brokaw did find a fine pumpkin, but then came the descent. It was one thing after another, and a reminder that we're not like the other couples. We can't do the cool things they do.
After this we checked out and loaded up. It just wasn't fun anymore, and that's the reason we went all that way in the first place. Everybody else had fun (except one cranky lady who was driving her poor teenage kids nuts). We just wanted to blend in and have fun too.

On the trip home we were quiet. It really was a disappointment, more so for Dana than me, but a disappointment still. I tried to get some perspective. Okay, that trek was crappy. Leaving early was crappy. These feelings were crappy. But I looked at the trees and countryside. I noticed the streams that converged toward the river. I commented on the puggle asleep under my wheelchair.
This is how I deal with disappointment. But I was reminded of my senior class trip to Georgia. That was in the mountains too. My mom was along as a sponsor and my caregiver. There were sad times then because I wasn't rooming with my classmates, because I couldn't do some activities, and because I was different. Back then I determined I wouldn't make a big deal about missing out. It only hit me every now and then. Usually, either my friends included me or I just got along.

I realized driving down that winding gravel road that Dana's life is impacted like nobody else's has been or will be. We are a team. For better or worse. Where I had grown calloused or flexible I see again the hurt. I feel the hurt. It's really sad to be disappointed like that. I just didn't realize how low my expectations had become.

Somewhere along the way home I shared with Dana my perspective, that the trees were beautiful, that Brokaw was content, and other bright spots. Maybe it's my own form of denial. But I was so sorry for my wife who had looked forward to this for so long.

I didn't know they grew pumpkins on the mountain. I thought a farm was flat. But I'm not giving up. We will have a fun pumpkin experience darn it! Might be next year, but we'll get out there and enjoy pickin' out pumpkins and apples and potatoes together with our fun-loving puggle running around.

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