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The Pumpkin Went PLOP


Teddy bounced out of bed. Today, the pumpkins they had grown were ready to pick. He and his brother, Tanner, had watered and weeded the patch all summer. Even their little sister, Meimei, who had been adopted from China, had tried to help struggling to pour water from their turquoise watering can onto the little pumpkins as they formed on the vines.

At first, they looked like mini-orange ping-pong balls, but almost overnight, they ballooned into orange soccer balls with ridges.

"Operation Pumpkins!" shouted Teddy as he jumped onto Meimei's bed, tumbling her to the floor. She grabbed her pillow and threw it at him as he raced to Tanner's bedroom to awaken him.

Mom was flipping pancakes while the family's dogs, Napoleon and Jake, sat nearby wildly wagging their tails—hoping that a dab of pancake batter would drizzle to the floor.

Travers, the oldest son, sat at the bar.

"Let's eat," Mom said, "then you get the red wagon out of the garage."

"I'm too excited to eat," Tanner said, taking a giant bite.

"Maybe your pumpkins can be used to make juice and Harry Potter will buy them for the Hogwart School," Travers teased.

Teddy's eyes grew wide. "Really? Then I'd have enough money to buy a new soccer ball."

"I get doll," Meimei said, looking hopeful.

Before long, the old red wagon had been dragged from the garage, and the pumpkins cut from their vines and loaded into the wagon.

Travers rode his bike as they walked. Tanner and Teddy were tugging the wagon toward the market, while Meimei and Mom tagged along.

"I wish the fairy godmother would come and turn my pumpkin into a coach," Teddy said.

"Yeah," Tanner said, "like in Cinderella."

"I'll bet the coach pumpkin didn't weigh as much as the one that took the prize for the biggest pumpkin. It weighed 1,600 pounds," Mom said.

Tanner's eyes grew wide. Meimei skipped along beside the wagon. Her dark hair framed her face. Just then, there was a big bump in the sidewalk's cement.

Tanner gave a GIANT pull on the wagon's handle, and Teddy's pumpkin rolled off and PLOPPED onto the sidewalk, landing with a loud thud and bursting into a zillion pieces.

No one said anything for a minute, then Teddy, tears squeezing from his eyes, plunged forward, grabbing at the broken chunks, trying to put the bright orange pieces back together. Seeds were everywhere—covered with stringy, slippery stuff.

Travers headed his bike towards home—peddling fast. Napoleon and Jake raced beside him. In a few minutes, he was back with a large cookie sheet. Using a spatula, he lifted the globby mess onto it.

"I'll take this sad looking glop home." He did a thumbs up at Teddy. "Everything's ruined," Teddy moaned. "Can I glue it together?" he turned to ask Mom.

Mom looked sad as she shook her head. "We'll think of something."

Tanner put his arm around Teddy. "Meimei and I will split our money with you."

Meimei nodded, patting Teddy's arm.

At Emigration Market, the owner, JT, smiled as he gave Tanner and his sister their pumpkin money. As they were leaving, Teddy said, "Can I get some sunflower seeds?"

Mom's eyebrows shot up. "No, but I have an idea," she said, picking up some small plastic zip lock bags.

The children looked startled. "We'll turn the pumpkin seeds into a delicious treat, and I'm sure JT will let us sell them here, then you can buy your soccer ball. You guys can get the seeds ready while I bake the pumpkin pieces for dinner tonight. They'll taste great drizzled with brown sugar and butter."

Teddy started to grin. "Aunt Gena makes pumpkin seeds, and they are yummy. Let's name ours 'Pulled Hard Seeds,' cause when I pulled the wagon hard, my pumpkin went PLOP!"

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