Renaissance Dad: The Old Man and the Pumpkin

Renaissance Dad: The Old Man and the Pumpkin

Wearily I stood, every bone crying out in protest as I gazed across the muddy battlefield.

When was I last warm and dry? I could not remember. All was wet and dreary, icy rain spitting from iron skies, chilling my bones. And everywhere I looked was cold and mud.

Around me, as far as my eyes could see, the sodden fields were littered with the crushed and broken remains of the fallen, trodden into the earth by our merciless boots.

She appeared out of the fog in front of me, as weary and mud streaked as I; her face set and grim as she clutched a severed trophy of war in her arms. Clearly, she had seen as much of the horror as I, but she marched on, resolute.

“Come,” she said, her voice cracked and broken from bellow orders over the cacophony of battle, “it’s time to leave. We’re going home . . .”

“Home?” I murmured, finding no meaning for the word in my tortured brain. “I cannot remember home . . . Let me die here in peace.”

“Spare me the drama, Hemingway,” she spat, trudging past me. “I need a latte, a handful of Advil, and a long, hot bath so just pick up your pumpkin and get on the bus.”

The bus.

Oh, no, not the yellow torture chamber again . . . I couldn’t . . . I wouldn’t . . .

“Shake a leg, Perkins! We ain’t waitin’,” my beloved growled over her shoulder.

I got on the bus.

A little backstory may be in order . . .

To read the rest of this article, pick up a copy of the October 2019 issue at any of these locations, or view the digital archive copy here.

Read more from Renaissance Dad here.

Perry P. Perkins is a third-generation chef, award-winning writer, and culinary instructor. He lives with his family in Longview, and operates the MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, for at-risk and under-served youth. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including sixteen “Chicken Soup for the Soul” anthologies. He is also a reoccurring guest-chef on AM Northwest. More of Perry’s work can be found on Amazon at, and his cooking blog at

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