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Four pumpkins, a bale of hay, and a cricket.
Oct 20 2008 6:48PM

There’s nothing better than taking a leisurely drive out east on a cold, but sunny, crisp, fall day. The winding roads, the changing foliage, and the never ending fields of green are just heavenly. Every now and then, you just need to GO. Enjoy the scenery, stop and smell the flowers, seize the moment, or whatever cliché fits. Today, I did just that.

Cutchogue was my destination. And oh what a drive it was. Just as I’d imagined it would be. Heavenly. I purposely left the radio tuned to the lite station - 106.7 to be exact. Soon, the sounds of Jimmy Cliff singing “I Can See Clearly Now” filled the air. “How appropriate” – I thought, because at that moment, nothing mattered. No rush to get somewhere that could wait, no stress of the market, no government bailout, no slumping stock prices, no political propaganda. Just a girl, taking a relaxing drive, and soaking it all in. And then I heard IT. IT could not be. No way, no how. Is that…a CHRISTMAS song I hear?? Can it be?? It’s October 20th for goodness sake. Halloween isn’t even here yet! I rush to call someone, ANYONE (ha ha, you know I luv ya Barb) – because I needed a witness to this absurdity! I WANTED a witness. Someone who could share the disbelief with me. Now, I must tell you…I absolutely LOVE Christmas time. I really do! It’s one of my favorite seasons, second only to Fall. But really - can’t we just ENJOY this time when the leaves are making their beautiful transformations?? Ugh. I digress.

I arrive at my destination, which by the way, is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL 2 story contemporary, overlooking the LI Sound. Stunning views. I catch myself wishing out loud if the homeowner wanted to adopt me. We both chuckled. LOL. After what seemed like an eternity (probably because I didn’t want to leave) – I head back home.

On the way, I stop at a farm stand. I purposely drove right PAST Briermere’s. Hey, Thanksgiving is still 38 days away and my hips cannot afford to get a head start. At the farm stand, I notice the most perfectly shaped pumpkins I’d ever seen. Nice smooth skin, not so deep ridges, rich orange colors, and perfect stems. I grab four. As the gentleman rings up my order, he asks if I’d be interested in a bale of hay. What the heck. I grab one of those too. As I load the hay and pumpkins into the back of my truck, I can’t help but notice ‘the man admiring the mums’. (I dare you to say that 10 times fast) The mums are freakishly big, but beautiful nonetheless. He, almost as if he’d read my mind, exclaims: “don’t bother gettin’ ‘em here…they’re cheaper down the road." Alrighty then, thanks for lookin’ out. I already have mums anyway, thankyouverymuch.

Back on the road, I get stuck behind the absolute worst driver in Suffolk county. If driving ON the solid yellow line wasn’t enough, how about swirving into the shoulder, and back again. Over, and over, and over again. I lag behind, making sure to keep my distance. I do NOT want to be near any of that. Luckily, it was about 2 miles when idiot driver made a right turn into a gas station. Good riddance. I continue on my way.

At this point, I’m probably 20 minutes from home. Or so I thought. Within a split second, my life flashes before my very eyes. I’m blinded with fear. Right there, in plain sight, just INCHES from my nose, is a cricket. But not just ANY cricket. A cricket on STEROIDS! Damn Jiminy must have been at least 3 inches long!!!!!! And plump too!! Holy crap! This sucker is going to jump! And WORSE, he’s going to jump ON ME!!!!! Noooooooooo!!!!!! I slam on my brakes and hit the shoulder. Jumping nearly 15 feet out of my truck, I now realize I could have been road kill for that mack truck coming in the opposite direction! I quickly run to the other side, the “safe” side, and open the passenger side door. HOW am I going to get Jiminy out?? What can I do? Can I lure him out somehow? What do crickets eat? Uh-oh, they eat bugs. Forget that idea. I open all the windows, hoping, by some miracle of miracles, he jumps out one of them. But he’s not moving. He’s just sitting there, like a dashboard ornament for all to see. It was as if he was taunting me – ‘catch me if you can’!! Think Christina, think. I can’t wave down a passing motorist. They’ll think I’m nuts - (they won’t be half wrong), but still. I grab the copy of The Improper North Shoreian that was on the front seat and roll it up. (Sorry Charlie, a girl’s gotta do, what a girl’s gotta do!) After about 10 minutes, I finally get up enough courage and take my first and only swing at Jiminy. He must have known what he was in for, because that sucker jumped about 2 feet, and right OUT the driver’s side window!!! I don’t know what scared me more, almost getting hit by the mack truck, or a 3 inch cricket. Thank goodness crickets don’t run in pairs. (At least I hope they don’t)

Needless to say, I will never, ever, ever, buy another bale of hay.

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