Click Pumpkin to hear the audio story.
For those on Fort George G. Meade in Maryland, the arrival of Autumn brings a cornucopia of pumpkin flavored foods and beverages.
The taste of pumpkin brings with it a kick of spice, and for Ashlee Gamble, a Navy spouse, a pinch of nostalgia.
“You have this crappy season of summer where everything sticks to you, and it’s humid and gross and you wish that you were in the arctic,” says Gamble. “Finally the fall weather comes and you’re like, ‘Ah! I can breathe!’”
Gamble says that she always looks forward to this time of the year.
“It brings me back to my childhood,” says Gamble. “I think as we grow up, we try to reach back for those memories.”
For Samual Dollar, a Navy submarine veteran, the pumpkin flavor has a different impact.
“If you’re out on deployment,” says Dollar, “those smells that remind you of back home, or those flavors,” he paused, “it’s the little things in life that makes life matter.”
The spice is what Gamble says really hits her. “I just feel at home.” She says that pumpkin on its own is bland. “When you add all the spices to it, it’s a very nice complement.”
Pumpkins are an essential representation of the Autumn season for both Gamble and Dollar.
“You open it up and it’s full of life,” said Dollar, “and that’s why we carve faces into them.”
“There’s the seeds, there’s the gook, the mush, whatever inside,” she said. “Eventually it came to the point where they would carve them out and stick a candle inside.”
“That’s why we display them proudly, every year,” Dollar said, “and we go for the intricate designs, to show our true selves. Even as living people, we can’t show people who we truly are as living beings. But as pumpkins, we can.”
“It’s tradition,” Gamble said, “and when you’re raised in a family with that, you automatically think of Fall.”