I have a love/hate relationship with gourds.  I love just about any kind of squash you can find, especially yellow squash.  Make me a squash casserole at Thanksgiving and I'm one happy camper.

But don't even let me get a whiff of watermelon.  Every member of my immediate and extended family loves them some watermelon.  I happen to be allergic to it and it's a running joke in the family that I refer to it as the "vile gourd".  Just the smell of it makes me itch inside my head.  I absolutely hate that bloated, bulbous abomination.

Then there's the ubiquitous pumpkin.  Some of the happiest times in my life have been attended by this gregarious gourd.  When the kids were little they loved to pick out a pumpkin at the local grocery store or pumpkin patch.  We'd find the pumpkin of the perfect size and shape and then take it home and carve it into a jack-o'-lantern.  (The carving part is fun, but cleaning out the inside is gross.)

On Thanksgiving there's always the enticing aroma of a pumpkin pie in the oven that permeates the house.  My wife makes the best pumpkin pie around with the perfect blend of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  We love to eat it hot with Cool Whip on top.

It seems the entire country is enjoying a love affair with the pumpkin.  Fans wait all year for the Pumpkin Spice Latte to appear at Starbucks.  There are Pumpkin Spice Oreos, and Mars just introduced White Pumpkin Pie M&M's.  For breakfast you can have Pumpkin Spice Cheerios with Pumpkin Spice Dunkin' Donuts Coffee.  And if you've got a cold you can get Pumpkin Spice cough drops at CVS.

Then there's the piece de resistance which I just saw at Kroger this weekend:  Pumpkin Spice Twinkies!  Get in my belly!

Today is the day to celebrate the popular pumpkin because it's National Pumpkin Day.  According to NationalDayCalendar.com, the word pumpkin derives from the word pepon, which means “large melon” in Greek.  (So if somebody calls you Pepon, they are not being flattering.)  The United States produces 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins, and Illinois produces more than any other state.

The largest pumpkin on record in North America was grown by Gene McMullen in Streator, Ilinois, in 2015.  McMullen's melon came in at a whopping 2,145 pounds.  The world record is the great pumpkin of Switzerland that tips the scales at 2,323 pounds.  Charlie Brown would be proud.

So, today, take time to ponder the pumpkin in all its glory.  Because as far as I'm concerned all the watermelons in the world can just shrivel up and die, but give my wife a pumpkin and she will make a pie, which is the reason why she's the apple of my eye.

Ah, pumpkins.  They cause me to wax poetic.

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