Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Day 293 - Mini Pumpkins, Gourds, and Mary Day

October 20th is a holiday on my calendar.  It is a day known as MARY DAY.  Mary was my mom, and October 20th is the anniversary of her death.  2015 marks 13 years since she died.  Every year I spend Mary Day celebrating her life – remembering her – by doing things she loved to do.  Mostly I SHOP.  I head out to the big local mall (the one that I usually go to once a year on, you guessed it, Mary Day…).  I shop All.  Day.  Long. 

My mom holding me - 1966
I try to buy a complete outfit – socks, pants, shirt, sweater, shoes...  A complete outfit just like she used to get me.  Other Mary Day activities could include getting a massage, playing a slot machine, getting your nails done, playing racquetball, drinking wine, for sure wearing lipstick, perhaps making a dessert and give it to someone else, vacuuming the house, going water skiing, sending people greeting cards – the point is, I spend the day doing things SHE would have done.  It gives me a day to remember, to grieve, to think of her, and to celebrate.

My mom and dad.  He is probably doing his famous move where he raises his hand and shouts "Tradition!" from
"Fiddler on the Roof", and she is cracking up because for some reason that move always makes us laugh
I never work on Mary Day.  It feels sacrilegious to work on this holiday.  And I typically spend the day alone.  I talk to strangers all day as I go about my celebrating and I always blurt out hugely inappropriate things that make them feel very awkward…  Nary a Mary Day goes by that some make-up counter lady doesn’t hear my blurted, “Hi.  I need a new lipstick.  My mom is dead, and this is the day I celebrate her.  She liked lipstick.  Can you help me find one??”.  Those are the things that fly out of my unattended mouth on Mary Day and unsuspecting sales clerks really have not been training to handle them. 

Trip to Las Vegas after she was sick.  I had shaved all my hair off (as had David and my sister Sherry)
to "go bald with her", only WE looked bald and SHE looked good with a wig.  :)  She was lucky at slot machines.
I think a ton about Mary Day for the entire month leading up to it.  What should I do this year?  Where should I go?  I think maybe my mind thinks about the specific DAY, October 20th, for the preceding month so that it doesn’t have to think back to the month leading up to her death, when my family and I took care of her in her last days.  Those times are too hard to remember and not the images of her I want to have in my head. 

I am much more deliberate on Mary Day.  I feel like I can sense everything – my steps, my breathing, my tears.  And the weeks leading up to Mary Day every year I notice my actions becoming more and more deliberate.  This is the only year I have had this blog review project, and I have been wondering (worrying really) what to review on Mary Day.  But last night I decided:  MINI PUMPKINS (and gourds).
I like these two photos side by side - they are both old, but it shows
how much I look like her, don't you think?
Old headshot - I look like Mom :)

My mom never set foot in a Trader Joe’s.  She lived in Omaha, Nebraska (where I grew up) and died before TJ’s came to that area.  So it’s not like there is a specific product at TJ’s that I look at and think, “That’s my mom!”.  But she was really good at decorating for holidays and always made sure I had a great Halloween costume, so when I saw the pumpkins I smiled and realized they were the right fit for Mary Day.

Here we go:  Trader Joe’s mini pumpkins (all varieties) and gourds. 


Teeny tiny adorable pumpkins
They are adorable.  Trader Joe’s displays them soooo well.  At our local TJ’s they were outside displayed spilling out of wooden tubs in the crisp autumn air.  They are lovely!  They sell a ton of them so there is a fast “turn over” and you never see old junky mushy ones.
So prettttty

Look how tiny!

You can find any style of pumpkin you like – white ones, orange ones, striped ones, big ones, teeny tiny ones…  You can get your fill of PUMPKINS this time of year at Trader Joe’s!  There are all sorts of gourds, too!  Ugly warty ones, nice smooth ones, different colors… 

And they are PRICED RIGHT.  TJ’s isn’t going to rip you off just because you want some gourds on your dining room table!  Why, check out the price difference on mini pumpkins when I compared Trader Joe’s prices to those at Safeway right across the street!!

                                                                      Regular ones only .69
Fancy ones - .99 at TJ's

Gourds also cheap!
Safeway rip-off - $1.50!

Look a gourd!

Gourds look like AUTUMN

Look, in my humble opinion Trader Joe’s goes way too coo-coo over pumpkin spiced this and pumpkin flavored that every autumn.  But PUMPKINS, actual real live cutie patootie tiny pumpkins, now THOSE are worth your investment.

So go get a tiny pumpkin or two.  They will make you smile.

But more importantly, hug your mom if she is still around.  And if she lives far away, CALL HER.  And send her a greeting card!  A real, honest-to-goodness-have-to-use-a-postage-stamp greeting card.  Tell her you love her.  Trust me on this one. 

Cuz she isn’t going to around forever.  So make sure you enjoy her while she is here.

Oh, and Happy Mary Day.

Price - .69 to .99 (for mini pumpkins and gourds, larger pumpkins also cheap)
Rating – 5 (that’s a “5” for the mini pumpkins and gourds, and a 5 for having a day set aside to remember my mom)


  1. What a lovely review - really a lovely tribute to your mom and the way you remember her. Your blog seems like the TJs review blog with the clearest or most endearing personality in it, to me anyway, and this post proves the point. Oh, and you're right about their mini pumpkins - cute and a great price!
    Happy Mary Day!

    1. THANK YOU Karen. What a kind thing to say. Happy Mary Day to you, too. :)