The pumpkin church

For six years, during the month of October, commuters on Alabama 119 South know the First Presbyterian Church of Alabaster will be all decked out with pumpkins.

This year there are 3,210 pumpkins to choose from, and that’s not counting the little ones ordered especially for individual children or table decorations. Some gourds are available also.

This month-long sale is one of the church’s outreach programs.

This year the proceeds will again help Safehouse (a local center for abused women and children). Last year, Safehouse received more than $4,000 from the pumpkin patch. In the past, proceeds have gone to Habitat for Humanity and Palliative Care (a Veterans Hospice program).

This year’s bumper crop of pumpkins were delivered right after church service Sunday, Sept. 27 by a Dozier truck driver who made the pickup in New Mexico at an Indian reservation. The trip takes about two and a half days.

Volunteers at the church unloaded the pumpkins assembly line-style.

Occasionally a huge pumpkin gets passed and the next youngster may have to be skipped due to an inability to hoist that much weight.

The banter is light and usually the weather cooperates.

Howard Barnes brings his forklift to help with the huge boxes of small pumpkins. The week before delivery, the grass has been mowed close, lights strung, the scout canopy set up and decorated.

This year a bridge and an arbor will add to picture opportunities so bring your camera.

Small children’s groups, home daycares, etc., are invited to come pick up small pumpkins ($1-$2 each) for their children.

In the past, Rev. Lee Laack was well known as the pumpkin storyteller. His plaid shirt, overalls, and silly hat, plus his wonderful talent of fascinating the children, are much missed.

Many of our area’s 9-15-year-olds probably remember taking silly pumpkin walks through and around the church — twisting and rambling like vines.

The Boy Scout troop and church youth reposition pumpkins on a regular basis. If not moved they will get soft spots and rot.

All discards are picked up by a local farmer for his cows.

Need a pumpkin? Bring the kids, share conversation with the workers, take pictures, and give to charity.

Sandra Thames is a community columnist for Alabaster. She can be reached by e–mail at bobthames1942@yahoo.com.