At this time of year, you can’t help but be reminded of pumpkins. This versatile gourd can be a main course, a soup, a dessert, a lantern and – and this may surprise you – a friend.
For those of you who can remember that far back, this isn’t a tale about Pammy, my pet pumpkin from the 1990s, but it really is a tale about a friend.
For maybe five years, I was a regular user of a website for lawyers called Roll On Friday. (I still drop in there occasionally, but there are a number of other things which now vie for my attention and, to use a phrase beloved of the place, its not as funny as it used to be.) On the site there is a discussion board, under which everyone posts using a pseudonym. One of those used the name ‘pumpkin’.
For a long time, I struggled to get a handle on ‘pumpkin’. They would appear, say something funny or very sensible, then disappear. Over time I learned that they, along with a couple of other regulars there, lived near me.
At first, I had a policy of not meeting people from that site. A policy which went by the wayside as soon as someone had some spare tickets to a Jools Holland show. I therefore began dropping subtle hints that maybe those of us who lived locally should meet up.
Too subtle. I had to get pretty unsubtle. But eventually we did meet up. Unfortunately, it was the night that my Gran died, and I never was sure what everyone made of my decision to stay in the pub rather than rush off home.
Over time, though, we all became firm friends and there developed a little group of eight or ten of us who met up regularly. But then I moved away, and it was as if I had left a cult or something. I’ve heard nothing much from most of them since I went. I did include them all in the text I sent when my son was born, and got back a rather sour message from pumpkin saying something along the lines of “Well, if that is what makes you happy” – I remember it pretty well because it was the only reply I didn’t keep.
I guess you could say that, in moving away and (largely) giving up on Roll On Friday, I took away the things that bound us all together. But I still sometimes wonder why I suddenly lost so many friends so quickly.
(I have deliberately kept names out of this entry. There’s a reason why anonymous things are anonymous, after all)