Coming to Grips with Useless Gourds

My husband has, since birth, a Buddhist disposition – but only when it comes to foliage. Where a real Buddhist would not step on an ant, Jake balks (“You’re killing it!) when I remove morning glory.

In the fall of 2008, my mom and sister came to visit our new Spokane home. We went to the country, picked fall raspberries, and bought about 94lbs of squash – which precipitated a squash extravaganza: squash soup, sausage filled squash, squash pancakes . . . After three days of feasting, we still had 42lbs of various squash. I didn’t touch any of those blasted things until February when I attempted to pick one up, but instead, got slimed.

Jake sorrowfully pulled the putrid pile from our garbage and held an impromptu memorial service. Then he buried the squash remains in our backyard. Calling on nature to heal the post-traumatic-stress caused by finding the squash carcasses, he took to yard work. He used dirt from different areas of our yard to level the grass in preparation for re-seeding. By June, little blades peeked out.

Something else grew with our fragile grass.

“We have to pull those out,” I said. “They will ruin the new grass.”

Jake couldn’t do it. “We can’t kill them,” he said. “These pumpkins deserve to live!”

I reasoned through the difficulty of mowing a lawn with pumpkins growing in it. He agreed, but refused to euthanize them. With grass too young to walk on, I knelt on the patio, leaned my nine-month old belly out as far as I could, and started to pull them out.

Next thing I knew, Jake crouched on our fragile grass, digging 2” X 2” holes around the pumpkin sprouts in order to transplant them. “GET OFF THE GRASS!” I said. “YOU’RE GOING TO RUIN THE GRASS!!”

Jake said nothing. I jumped up and down. My face turned red. I screamed. “Why would you sacrifice all your hard work for pumpkins? We can buy pumpkins at the store! We can buy pumpkin seeds at the store!”

“These pumpkins deserve to live,” Jake said.


Jake calmly walked toward the back of our yard. I could feel steam around my eyeballs. I saw our neighbor peeking over the fence. I turned back to Jake. “I AM FURIOUS!” Jake had the composure of a Jedi Master. He silently re-planted the pumpkin seedlings.

When I apologized to my neighbor for having to witness such a scene, he said, “Polly, you are nine months pregnant.” That, my friends, is compassion.

Summer rolled around, and the grass showed no sign of the ordeal. When October rolled around, Jake’s rescued pumpkins weren’t pumpkins at all.

I said, “All that rigmarole for useless gourds.”

“Even useless gourds deserve to live,” said Jake.

Now, in the season of useless gourds, I don’t ask that you convert to Jake’s special sect of flora Buddhism. But I do ask that you put your wilting squashes out of site if you invite my husband over. We live in a small apartment, and if useless gourds start growing in our carpet, I’ll be stuck vacuuming around them.