From various sources, we’ve received our share of pumpkin again this year. For practically my whole life, I’ve had something to do with pumpkins in the Fall.
My mom used to carve them with us as kids. Later, in Hankinson, I can remember designing and carving jack-o-lanterns with Sr. Sara Marie. Then in Rugby, ND, the day after I completed my canonical year of novitiate, Sr. Genevieve and I baked 22 loaves of pumpkin bread! We ate 1/2 loaf each week so they would last for 44 weeks! Wow…that was a marathon day!
At St. Anne’s, these overgrown gourds still seem to find me! On Monday, with help from two of our apartment ladies, I froze eleven quarts of pumpkin. I was tired, but satisfied at the end of that day, the final hours of which I spent as receptionist at the front desk here.
The next morning, I decided to put some of that pumpkin to good use; our residents would be having Bingo in the afternoon so I would make homemade pumpkin cookies for them to enjoy! Well, easier said than done!
A cook or baker learns certain tricks and techniques over time. Unfortunately, this baker (me) forgot an important step for baking with homemade pumpkin puree that’s been frozen: always thaw it thoroughly and press it in a strainer to remove as much excess ‘juice’ as possible.
As I peeked at my cookies, and saw them spreading out and melting together, I decided I was more successful at making ‘humble pie’ than tasty pumpkin cookies.
I added more flour, spices, and baking soda to my remaining dough, and made other efforts to remedy the runaway pumpkin cookies. When I was already feeling pretty humiliated, I knocked a cooling rack onto the floor. What a morning!
As Franciscan Sisters, we are exhorted to always be simple and humble. The morning’s undertaking helped me fulfill the latter quality, but not the former.
Between cookies, Mass, reception desk work, and preparing and leading Bible Study, it was far from ‘simple.’ I am most grateful to our activity director, Shelly, who stepped in and helped me get it all done.
This was a lesson in humility. I have baked with pumpkin many times before, and when I looked back on it before starting this years endeavors, was pleased with how my past treats had turned out.
This experience taught (or reminded me of) a little lesson; just because things worked well before, I can’t assume I can “bite off a bigger chunk than I can chew” (to use an old expression), and that things will just work out. Being a limited human being, in humility, I ought to look carefully at the time I have and consider that before I start another big task.
Otherwise, I’m likely to end up with ‘humble pie’ again.
Sr. Christina M. Neumann