As a classroom teacher, I loved getting ready for our pumpkin patch field trip. We would talk and read about pumpkins, make a list of questions we had for the farmer, and practice drawing on our clipboards. On the day of the trip, each child would step into the patch, armed with boots for the puddles, pencils and clipboards for recording what they saw, and a plastic bag to carry the pumpkin they would choose. Before they took off, I would remind them (and their parents) that they needed to make at least one drawing and have someone write down words about what they saw before they picked their pumpkin. I got to wander around and snap pictures of kids working. There was often some rain which made us work faster and always some puddles and mud which bring joy to children and dread to parents.
Last month, I decided to join some of our classes on a trip to the pumpkin patch. I was happy that I chose the group that went on a day without rain. It was foggy driving out to the patch but not terribly cold and not wet. I recognized the name of the farm and remembered going there with my own daughters 20 years ago. As we stepped off the bus, I felt like I was stepping back in time. The farm had hardly changed. Farmer Mark had a bit more grey hair but the story time barn was the same, there were baby animals to be petting and structures that were painted like pumpkins for climbing on. But everything seemed a bit smaller. In my memory, it was a huge farm and my small girls giggled as they ran into the pumpkin patch with their pink rain coats and red rain boots. As I stood there, I pulled up that image in my mind. Then I took a picture of the farm sign with my I-phone and sent it off in an email to the girls. “Guess where I am today?”