Some people can warm a cold day with a mere smile. Some family's radiate life. Marie and the Cigals are perfect examples. A big, boisterous clan they are. When they get together, they celebrate one another and welcome all to join in the fun.
30 years ago Marie's daughter spent a fall afternoon with her grandfather Clayton Sr. carving pumpkins. They displayed them on his front step for all to see. A year passed and another grandchild joined in the festivities and they needed a couple steps to show off their creations. Three decades later four generations of Cigal's show up for a weekend long party. This year friends and family had 400 pumpkins to carve, including a couple over 200lbs. They rose to the challenge and on nights leading up to Halloween, Clayton Sr's. yard is lit up with brightly colored jacks-o-lanterns of all sorts of shapes and sizes.
For years this labor of love has warmed the hearts of neighbors and town residents. A simple sign requesting donations for the local food pantry annually raises enough food and money to provide families in need with months worth of groceries. Most of us think of All Hallows' Eve a holiday of consumption, to the Cigal's it is one for giving.
Everywhere you look in October, pumpkin is heralded as the flavor of the month. From sweets to soups everything seems to taste better if it has some pumpkin in it. After an afternoon with Marie and her clan my favorite flavor for pumpkin is the one that is served with a smile.
Pumpkin, what's your favorite flavor?
Top Ten Favorite Recipes with Pumpkin
- Savory Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Brownies, simple recipe for a seasonal sensation
- Pioneer Woman's Pumpkin Soup
- Heidi Swanson's Pumpkin and Feta Muffins
- Nana's Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Frost Cookies
- Chocoalte Pumpkin Seed Bark, with craisins and a protein punch
- Gingered Pumpkin Cupcakes with a Cream Cheese Surprise
- Roasted Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad
- Pumpkin and Pecan Biscuits
Photo Credit: Julie Cecchini