After misunderstanding a friend’s recommendation for a preschooler-friendly local pumpkin patch, we took Charlie to the grimmest, most Carnie fall experience I’ve yet encountered.
In pursuit of of autumn magic, we drove over to the Pasadena Pumpkin Patch. When my friend Heidi said she always took her kids to their local pumpkin patch and had a great time, I just Googled which pumpkin patches were close to her and made plans. Like an idiot.
As we drove into the CVS parking lot, I questioned Heidi’s taste for the first time in our 11-year friendship. When we walked through the chain-link fence, I knew she must be all the way out of her entire mind. But Charlie was enchanted. He immediately found the pumpkin of his dreams.
He liked that it fit in one hand, and that it had the best stem. He also found some dried corn, which he started using as a broom immediately. Neither of these were near as exciting as the prospect of the ultra-grim petting zoo. Wanna touch a real, live, mangey chicken? This is the place for you! What about a piglet with intestinal discomfort? We have two! Do you like goats? This goat does not like you, and is currently escaping through the chain-link fence to explore the freedom of the rest of the CVS parking lot. Don’t worry, Methy Joe has acquired a rake with which to shoe the goat back into place. Please, Mom, please can we pay the $7 to get right in there, in the pin with them, and touch those animals? Kiss them with our faces? Rub the hay in our eyes? I’m especially interested in the parts of the animals that ought to have fur and/or feathers, and yet have neither.
Oh, sorry honey, dad is highly allergic to some manner of evil within this petting zoo, and we’ve got to GTFO before his sinuses explode. I, too, am experiencing itching in places on my face I didn’t know I had.
When can I go on the inflatable slide, Mom? I love the part about how we have to take our shoes off and walk around in what I can only assume are used hypodermic needles and a bit of hay.
Sadly, we had to go before we could experience the full splendor. Andy was legit allergic, so we couldn’t linger, as much as we obviously wanted to. Charlie started throwing a fit upon the news that it was time to pay for our pumpkins and go. Sobbing, as is his custom, “I’m never going to be happy again!” He cried all the way home.
As it turned out, this was not the recommended pumpkin patch in question. The one my friend endorsed was her non-gimmicky, strictly pumpkin-based neighborhood patch. In fairness to me, this questionable autumn experience had a lot of close-up pictures on its website, so all red flags had been carefully cropped out of my internet research. But because I wanted to create a magical memory and didn’t feel like driving all the way the fuck to Moorpark, we now have the magical memories of the saddest petting zoo in Los Angeles, and a son who promises to be unhappy forever.
But a memory’s a memory. I’m counting this one as a win.