A Writer's Life

It’s a Jeaney Halloweeney With Her Porch Pals

Halloween, 2005 was a special holiday, and I’ll tell you why.  Back then, my online life was just starting to blossom in the rather trendy livejournal community, but my longstanding relationship with  rec.arts.tv.mst3k.misc continued to be a daily indulgence. I’d been consumed by that amazing newsgroup since about 1996-ish or so, and it had become a way of life. Certain MSTies from there were counted among my best of friends.

Jean Jackson was one of those. Jean was a remarkable woman for a heck of a lot of reasons.  She was kind. She was amazingly witty. In latter years, she painted a series of homages to famous works of art, but with a MSTie twist. Here is her gallery of these works.  “Sunday in the Park with Frank” is the print that we chose to purchase and I am grateful to own it.

Sadly Jean passed away suddenly and far too soon, in January, 2013.  She was quite partial to Halloween. It was her birthday.

For Halloween, 2005, Jean composed a Halloween tale that has become an annual treasured tradition.  As MSTies might say… “Enjoy it, won’t us?”

Porch Pals

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far too screwy for us to comprehend, there existed a plump and incandescent planet of legendary proportions, known for its rollicking good fun, as it was inhabited by beaming and globular beings of the botanic persuasion.

We, of course, would recognize the natives as ‘pumpkins’, but on their home planet, where they rule, eons of evolution freed from all known predators and an oppressive atmosphere, has allowed them the freedom of limitless self-expression and implanted in them a remarkable self-esteem of substantial vigor. It might do well for creatures of all Phyla to contemplate their philosophy and thereby profit from it.

Their gregariousness is legendary, and honored ambassadors representing innumerable systems of awesome dignity travel from far and wide in order to receive vegetative wisdom including, but not limited to, instructions for lightening up and boogying down. The more esoteric precepts are held in secret, not for human ears, until the time should come when we are more culturally advanced and initiated into its mysteries.

As we might imagine, such exuberance cannot be confined for long, and our pumpkin friends have nurtured a well deserved reputation for footloose proclivities, sightseeing wherever they might be welcomed and exhibiting an affection for schmoozing with creatures representative of the most weird the galaxy has to offer. Millennia ago, seeking strange new worlds, our pumpkin friends were booked for a Gourd Trek to planet Earth, guaranteed to offer not just delightful surprises, but also unique challenges for this rollicking and rambling species.

You see, their home world is clothed in a riot of reddish and yellow hues, flashing and sparkling heavens, and a firmament bathed in perpetual neon glow. In this context, of course, a pumpkinish aspect would be considered the height of urbane and noble solemnity, but on our planet, saturated with soothing blue-green tones, they would stand out like the proverbial festering digit.

The pumpkins, not wanting to cause undue alarm in more primitive species, had decided to disguise themselves as members of the already ubiquitous immobile terrestrial flora, and enjoy their sojourn as mere spectators, participating in Earthly events only when suspicions would not be aroused. Now, we might credibly wonder why such an adventurous species would restrain themselves in such a manner for protracted periods, and can only surmise that they considered it a small price to pay in return for fertile soil and wide open spaces, where the inhabitants could be easily persuaded to feed, water, and weed, and lavish them with care, as we might giddily harbor visions of extended pampering in exotic and opulent resorts.

Over time, the pumpkins grew to consider Earth a desireable destination spot for sabbaticals involving metaphysical discussions, loafing meditations, and the refined rejuvenation of necessary energies. Fortuitously, this annual voyage happened to coincide with an Earthly festival known as ‘Halloween’, and as our intergalactic visitors like nothing better than a good time, they participate in the celebrations with alacrity and every intention of graciously adding to the anticipated hilarity. Now, we all know by now that this benevolence has been manifested in allowing themselves to be harvested, transported, bathed and polished to a resplendent sheen, with formal and elaborate display at every retail center across the land, a homage to be envied by any sentient being in the known universe.

But it doesn’t end there, oh no – further tribute is lavished upon them. Earthlings, inspired to a creative frenzy, take our pumpkin guests lovingly into their own homes where, after proper oohing and ahhing reverence, commence to sculpt and fashion our friends into the most marvelous designs, hewing them into monuments of appropriate holiday ornamentation, each trying to out-do the other in gleeful exhibition of these commemorative performances to be enjoyed and reflected upon for many days. Now, oh dear, you might well conclude, this vegetal evisceration must cause regrettable discomfort, to say nothing of rendering mortal wounds on our innocuous friends. But here, happily, you would be mistaken due to one unrevealed fact – this bodily carving is an essential function in their life cycle, and actually facilitates in reproduction and proliferation! Let us observe subsequent events, with objective and logical consideration, where all will become clear.

After a nominal passage of time, while our pumpkin boarders have been the recipients of deserved veneration, they have been furtively accumulating a sufficient amount of indigenous biological material known to us as ‘mold’. Slowly, almost imperceptively, they begin to slather themselves from head to toe in this impermeable armor, preparing for the next stage of existence, while we are left, unfortunately, mourning their coming departure due to a substantial stench and anticipated oozing over every available surface. Our lament, howver, is their rapture, as they journey expeditiously to landfills and sewage treatment plants across the land, where they hibernate and ripen once again into former vitality.

With clever foresight, and unbeknownst to human perception, our pumpkin pals have germinated and sprouted innumerable spores, capable of a torpid existence as camoflage for their true character. They appear to us, cunningly, as ordinary and mundane, if somewhat colorful, popcorn kernals. Once again we take them into our homes, and with the proper application of heat and oil, they are jettisoned upward, where they might capture and store prodigious amounts of our solar currents and launch themselves on their homeward jaunt. Admittedly, many do not reach the upper atmosphere, and are destined to repeat the cycle here on earth. But, enough of them posess the capability to fashion oblique trajectories, maintain the necessary velocity to return home, and are left with pleasant memories, hauling sacks of souvenirs.

Upon arrival, they spend many months regaling their friends and acquaintances with tales of incomparable Earthling hospitality. In fact, so profuse is their praise that, even as we speak, residents of the Rutabaga Galaxy are packing their bags.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.


  • adele nozedar

    hi Lori
    Love your blog! I am a UK-based author, currently putting together a book about the many ‘cultivated’ plants that are also edible. Here in the UK not many people eat Amelanchier, and I would love to be able to include your June Berry Jelly recipe, with your permission. I will of course credit you and also send a copy of the book when it is published, which will be in 2015.
    So, may I use the recipe, please?

    with best regards


    • Ceejay

      Sure! If I can help more people learn to enjoy Amelanchier berries, I’m pleased. If you wish to talk more about this in detail, head over to cocoajava.com and use the contact form on the left column to send me an email. That is my other website, and it’s focused on chocolate and coffee, perhaps you’d find something there you can use, too!

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