Here it was the night of Lucy and Ric's Halloween Hayride and Chili . . . actually, I am not sure of the party's official title. But here is how it went down:
Ric has a real (he frequently uses that word before adjectives, so I am doing it here) fancy orange tractor. He hitched it up to an open-aired trailer with bench seats covered in denim quilts. Then, in two shifts, he towed the entire family over to Farmer George's pumpkin patch where everyone got to pick out their own bona fide pumpkin.
Meanwhile, there was cider, chili and hot scones in the shop provided by Papa and Mama Beesley which you could eat under Lucy's picnic veranda, covered in white lights and orange tablecloths.
On my ride out to the patch, I sat back-to-back with Lisa. Lisa is much, much further along than I am and she already has a name picked out for her in-utero daughter. Never in my life have I ever wanted to be like Lisa so much (and I have wanted to be like Lisa a lot.) As we bumped over slightly-paved roads, passed gaseous cows (Katy almost puked off to the side) and a glorious view of the sunset, I was grilled by niece and nephew Lindsay and Van about our chosen name.
"We can't agree." I said looking over at Chup and shrugging my shoulders.
"How about Link?" Asked Van.
"Or Haddie?" Suggested Lindsay.
And in no time the discussion had spread until everyone onboard had a name to call out.
"It will be twins!" Matt declared, "Kenny and Kendra."
Perfect to go with our last name.
As it began, I looked over at Chup with Meri in his lap. I think he was trying my hyno-heaving technique. He was escaping to Tahiti. I could see it in his eyes.
When the tractor stopped, we all unloaded and searched the field for our pumpkin. Grandpa found one long and lean, a bitty one for Harriet and Owen picked the biggest, greenest one in the patch. Umi (my mother's name to her almost thirty-four grandchildren) picked out a tiny, round, perfectly orange pumpkin for our in-utero baby (currently the size of an olive.)
Back on the farm, I took a seat next to Emma on the picnic bench underneath the white lights. She offered to get me a scone "with lots of honey and sprinkled in sugar." If only I could express how much I love my Emma!
The picnic table wasn't empty for long. Topher and Lisa had stopped by, Lindsay and Jesse at the other end. Steve and Suze joined with chili in hand, as did Page and never-far-behind Vivian. Chup found a spot to my left and Andrew across from me. My parents pulled up chairs and soon there were children--scones in hands--filling in the little spaces between.
And that is when it started again.
"Have you thought of Dusty?" Asked Lindsay.
"Jasper!" Shouted Alex.
"Trudie?" Questioned Lisa.
"Trixie?" Questioned Lisa again.
"Rusty?" Suggested Jesse.
Then a little voice from Seth, "Conan! I know! Wyatt!"
(After which Conan and Cotus-- both my family nicknames--were suggested.)
"It doesn't matter what you name your baby," Page piped in "you will always feel silly telling people the name you have chosen. That is just how it is."
"That is true." Andrew confessed. "I often regret one of our names. But just one."
"Peggy?" Topher was just getting started.
"Jasper!" Alex again.
"Look!" I interrupted. "Look at Chup. This is his version of hell."
All eyes went to my Chup as he finished the last gulp of his cider.
"You are all biggest name-snob family in the world!" He said, voice booming. "It does no good discussing names with likes of any of you."
The table fell silent. Chup slammed his plastic cup down like a cowboy in a bar. Lucy's chickens could be heard squawking in the background. The man had spoken. What was there more to say?
"Horris?" Steve continued.
"Molly!" From Olivia.
"Jessica!" Sang Morgan.
"Lily." Winked Emily.
"Barbara?" Topher could go on all night.
Then a whole slew of names from "Darth" to "Garth" and so many others launched from around the table.
Chup must have been praying because the weather turned and it started to sprinkle. We all ran for cover to our cars as we said our good byes and thank yous. I cradled my round little pumpkin as I dashed out of the veranda.
Niece Lindsay-- she who started it all--caught up with me, and whispered in my ear. "Remember: I like Haddie. Oh, and Mylo."
Later, I carried the pumpkin to the front porch. "Either way," I said to Chup, "you can't say that they aren't excited."
"That's true." He conceded.
Lucky little punkin'.
Thanks for the fun night Lucy and Ric!