Little Miss Pumpkin 1992

Nothing we are working on right now is any more, or less, important than this...

Posted May 28, 2012

My sisters and I share dozens of stories. While most of them are silly, some are rich with meaning.

One story in particular takes place at an annual county-wide Pumpkin Festival which features a Little Miss Pumpkin—selected for beauty, poise, talent, and representativeness of the values of the Festival. 

For a brief period (the Festival lasts several days), the outgoing Little Miss Pumpkin and this year's newly elected monarch overlap in their duties and responsibilities. In the particular Festival in which my sister's story takes place, there was some friction between the emeritus and the newly minted Little Miss Pumpkins. The friction may have had its roots in something which one Little Miss's friends had or had not whispered about the other.

Although no one was quite clear where the discord had started, it became clear to the slightly older, outgoing queen that the unkindness must be put to rest for the sake of the big picture - the celebration of the Festival. Proposing to put an end to the hostilities, the older girl pulled the younger aside for a quiet treatise.

"Let's put this all behind us," she offered solemnly, "For the next week, you and I have to reign together."

As my sisters and I enjoyed this story, over and over again, we initially savored the ridiculousness of these two small town princesses who were taking their roles so seriously. And that would have been good for a couple of laughs, after which the story would have been forgotten. But we remembered the story.  Twenty years later, of the stories I share with my sisters, this is still one of my favorites.

When I'm taking myself too seriously, I think of the overlapping reign of those Little Miss Pumpkins. And when I overhear some pompous blowhard who thinks his particular ego struggles in this particular sliver of earth-time are Really Important, I think of the pumpkin queens. And laugh.

Because nothing that any of is doing right now, nobody we're struggling with, no ego-battle which keeps us up at night is any more, or less, important, than the co-reign of those Miss Pumpkins.

And (this part is equally true) there was absolutely nothing more important for those two adolescents at that moment in Autumn 1992 than reigning peacefully together over that particular county festival.

So for this week, I propose that you and I put aside any differences among ourselves, look around us at the wafer-thin slice of humanity and time and experience which any of us can possibly take in, and make a solemn agreement.

To reign together.