Life is Better Inside My Head
A few miles outside Tralee is a garden centre and nursery called Ballyseedy. I'd driven past it a few times in my travels and always had a bit of a chuckle over the name. Last weekend, I was in the area and saw that they had a sign up advertising their "Halloween Howl."
My inner child perked up at the mention of Halloween in conjunction with a garden centre. One of my largest disappointments of life in Ireland is the lack of decent pumpkins and Halloween activities. I used to look forward to October for our yearly pilgrimage to Honey Hill Orchard. Now I spend the shorter evenings lamenting the pumpkin-shaped hole in my life.
But the Halloween Howl sign, it gave me hope. I pictured it perfectly in my head. It looked a big like Mapleside, the place my parents took me when I was a kid. Not as big or exciting as Honey Hill, but full of giant pumpkins and hay bales and all the accoutrement of Halloween. I knew I probably couldn't count on a roaring fire or hot apple cider, but I held out hope for big, gregarious pumpkins. If the Halloween Howl panned out, we might have a new tradition to look forward to each October.
I had a few stops to make before I went into Ballyseedy to check out the Halloween Howl. The place is much more posh inside than your average nursery and garden centre. I suppose that should have been my first clue.
My second clue was that the Halloween Howl was indoors and seemed to consist of a large tent filled with crappy costumes and cheap decorations. In front of the tent was a display of decorative pumpkins. They were tiny, sad little creatures, not much bigger than a baby's head. Half of them were still mostly green.
My final clue, the great big bucket of water over my imagination fire, was when I asked one of the workers outdoors if they had pumpkins. "Ah yes, sure we do. I'm only after seeing them on the pallets this morning." Then he proudly marched me inside, directly to the aforementioned pathetic display of pumpkin produce.
I stopped at the Tesco on the way home, but they were sold out of the large pumpkins so I decided to hold out for another week. Next year, I'm going to have to get off my butt and plant my own damn pumpkins. That's going to have to be my new Halloween tradition.
P.S. - If you're lucky enough to be in the Chicago area, you owe it to yourself to visit Honey Hill. You also owe it to yourself to visit Richardson Farm, home to the world's largest corn maze.
P.P.S - Happy Anniversary, Big B. I'd marry you all over again. In fact, I already have. :)