Don't let others choose your face

We were discussing pumpkins the other day, not an unusual topic for this time of year. I had no garden this year and the annual tradition of the grandkids, nieces and nephews coming for a wiener roast and getting their jack o’lanterns was approaching. Having just watched an episode of Bonanza where a bad guy ‘salted’ a gold mine with his shotgun, making it look like there was real gold there, I knew what I had to do.

I zipped up to the pumpkin patch on a spectacular afternoon and picked out six pumpkins of equal size and a bunch of vines. Back home, I placed them strategically around in my bare garden plot and once again, the kids would have pumpkins.

While telling this story, one of the listeners told us about her pumpkin that she was so proud of. I suspect there was a bit of disturbing attachment to her orange friend, as she said she could not bring herself to cut it. She would just draw the face on. Then she said, “It has a bit of a rotten spot but I’ll just hide that at the back so no one can see it.”

But don’t we all do that — paint on a presentable face and hide our rotten spots out of sight? Sure, some people have a happy grin carved on permanently and have absolutely no rotten spots at all. We like to be around those folks. They welcome us to their door, lighten our load and cheer us up.

Others have taken a jagged blade and gouged out a scowl that never seems to leave. We see them coming and we tend to look the other way. Let someone else handle them.

We hope they don’t come to our counter or across our door. They leave a trail of garbage behind for us to clean up and their scowl starts to twist down the corners of our mouths as well.

Just like carving jack o’ lanterns, we can choose the face we put on each day when we first look in the mirror. What should we be today? Maybe cranky and sour and starting to rot before we even leave the house, or should we stretch that smile from ear to ear and open our eyes as wide as we can?

Most important is to not let someone else determine our face for us. Don’t let anyone else’s attitude influence whether you carve on a smile or a frown. You are the only one who can set your attitude for the day.

Most years, reading the pumpkins and peeking behind the masks ends on Oct. 31. But once every three years, the faces keep coming at us right up until municipal election day.

I always give my best to all of the candidates and congratulate them on getting involved and making a difference. But I am always curious about those faces I see on the signs and in the ads.  Are their smiles carved in or just painted on? Will they wash off and leave a scowl behind?

We all have to listen carefully and look closely at those that want to spend our money. Take a look through the eyes and see how bright the flame is inside and then, just to be sure, take a close look behind. There just might be a rotten spot hiding back there.

At least that’s what McGregor says.

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