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PINE NUTS – Pumpkin Man

November 3, 2023 | McAvoy Lane

Huckleberry & Jim had many a grand adventure aboard their raft, adventures that we can read all about in Mark Twain’s iconic book, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. But who would ever guess a Missouri man, Steve Kueny, could grow a 1,280-pound pumpkin, hollow it out, climb inside, and float 39 miles down the Missouri River inside a pumpkin he just happened to name, “Huckle Berry.”

It took Steve eleven hours to complete his journey from Kansas City to Napoleon, and place his name on a page in the Guinness Book of World Records. Mind you, this record is not your grandfather’s, “Hold my beer…watch this!” No, there was much planning, tender loving care, careful carving and much paddling involved, not to mention the annoyance of pumpkin hairs tickling his toes for eleven grueling hours.  

Kueny claims he was just a man with a pumpkin who was looking for something to do on a Monday morning. But we know he was a man with a mission, and we congratulate him for his creativity and endurance. After all, Missouri is the “Show Me State.” As for Huckle Berry? He was unceremoniously decommissioned, which is to say, run over by a tractor.”

Reading about Steve’s adventure gave me an incentive to go back and reread Cinderella, as she too took a ride in a pumpkin as I recall. Cinderella’s fairy grandmother turned a pumpkin into a golden carriage and turned mice into horses to pull that pumpkin to the prince’s ball. She even turned a rat into a coachman. Don’t ask me how.

But if Cinderella did not leave before midnight, well, that golden carriage would revert to a regular old pumpkin in which to ride home, and I still don’t know how Cinderella got home that night. Did the mice carry her back home in her pumpkin, or did she just call Uber…

If there is a moral to that fairytale I could not find it with a hunting dog, but others more learned than I have suggested that the moral of the Cinderella story is, “Where beauty is a treasure, graciousness is priceless.” So let us go with that, and let it ride.

I had a chance once myself at a world record, and feel the sting of regret even today that I did not make it into that noble book. Yes, back in high school I was carried off the field on a gurney twice in one football game. One more time and I might have landed in the Guinness Book of World Records. I wasn’t hurt, actually, so much as I was really really tired, and, yearning for the sympathy of one of our cheerleaders, who did cross herself when she suspected I must surely be dead on my second exodus on that gurney.

Oh well, the day is young, and we never know when providence might offer an opportunity to earn oneself a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records…

“Hold my beer…watch this!” 

Audio: https://anchor.fm/mcavoy-layne

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