Rachel and I took four of our “big kids” and our granddaughter, Hailey Grace to spend a day in the country last Friday. When the seasons change here in the South, it’s hard to tell by the temperature, but you can tell by the appearance of the pumpkins. The weather in Louisiana in the Fall is usually still as warm as it was in the Summer. It’s just plain hot. There is a local joke here about the seasons; “There are only two seasons in Louisiana, Summer and hunting”. So with that in mind we packed the family for a day trip into the country, to visit Miss Heather’s Pumpkin Patch.
The Pumpkin Patch is located in rural Tangipohoa Parish, just a few miles from Hammond, LA. We used the GPS to locate Miss Heather’s farm and when we arrived I was pleasantly surprised to find out the farm was only a few miles from where I spent some of my childhood days, riding horses and chasing lighting bugs. It did bring back some wonderful memories and now here I am, four decades later with my wife, four of our kids and our only granddaughter. We were about to spend the day in the same area that I played in as a boy.
The Parish Fair weekend in Tangipahoa always begins on the first Friday in October. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. So as usual this first Friday of October was again Parish Fair Day and all of the local schools were out, which meant many of the kids and their families were looking for something to do. When we pulled into the field to park it seemed like those families, all came to Miss Heather’s Pumpkin Patch. The parking area was at one time a cow pasture and may well still be used for that purpose. But on this day the pasture was filled with cars, trucks and SUVs. We unloaded the family and began walking towards the farm. When we got to the main gate there was a small tent with two teenagers taking admission and answering questions. There was a sign on the fence post that said, “Admission $7 for children 15 years and under. Everyone else free”. Apparently the $7 covered he cost of the pumpkin that each child received during the visit. There was lots of other free things on the farm for the kids to do. There were swing sets, jumping pads, a corn field, old barns and even a bathroom that looked like an out-house. We found a picnic table to sit at with the family and took turns exploring the country side.
As we walked through the farm and played in the woods I remembered doing those same things many years ago as a little boy in the country. Though no one charged my Mom $7 admission for a day on the farm, it was just what we did and how we lived. Riding horses, swinging, wading in the creek and picking pumpkins. And now fast forward 40 years and here is a cow pasture full of city vehicles carrying families willing to spend a few bucks for a day in the country. My how times have changed and stayed the same. The only real difference now is that it cost $7 for a day in the country. Country living is still the best bargain on the planet.