It was as if the laws of physics had said the hell with it
And washed its hands of that bit of southern Ohio,
For, one late October morning, the steeple
Of the Salem Hall Methodist church inexplicably sported
A huge Linus-Van-Pelt-wet-dream issue pumpkin.
Needless to say, the whys and wherefores
As to how the gourd in question came to rest where it did
Became a topic of considerable conversation.
Some folks said it was the doing of the volunteer fire brigade
Over in Macksburg (known pranksters to a man, after all),
But they didn’t have a ladder truck that would reach up there,
And most of the members of the department in New Matamoras
Held to the opinion that the Macksburg boys
Were all afraid of heights anyway; still other folks opined
That it was clearly the work of college boys from down in Marietta,
But it was the general consensus that no drunken frat boy
Could conquer the minor logistical issues that surround
Hauling a two-hundred pound pumpkin up a pitched church roof.
As if the presence of a huge jack-o’-lantern
Stuck on a steeple like the cherry on a King Kong sundae
Was not sufficiently inexplicable in and of itself,
The fruit proved to be nearly indestructible, staying fresh
Through Indian Summer heat, hail, and numbing cold
That would have taken a heavy toll on a lesser squash,
And so the pumpkin remained fresh and unmoved
Through Thanksgiving and well beyond—indeed, as
The great orange globe persevered, its renown spread
Well beyond Washington County, and academics
From Columbus, Cleveland and beyond came to town
To photograph and postulate, and enough visitors
Ventured off the interstate and made the trek
On the serpentine two-lane road into town, at all times
Of day and night, that the Chamber of Commerce
Installed two huge floodlights which, in the evening,
Lit up the pumpkin in a manner befitting a Hollywood premiere.
The gourd, in addition to its other attributes,
Proved itself to be extremely stubborn as well;
An early-December snowstorm,
Accompanied by winds which wreaked its fair share of abuse
Upon wires and shingles, didn’t budge the pumpkin an inch—
And so, as the parishioners and other curious souls
Entered the church for services on Christmas morning,
The fruit remained steadfastly at its post, and old Jess Van Raalt,
The embodiment of eighty years worth of piss, vinegar,
And general devil-may-care, reputed to attend church
(Which he did with a faithfulness which put the majority
Of the congregation to shame) only to bedevil
Whichever recent seminarian the bishopric chose to minister
That particular flock, caught the incumbent pastor by the arm.
Reverend, he cackled, that’s a hell of a waste of a good pie
Up on your roof, but I’ll give that God of yours credit.
His gift for humor shows a lighter touch
Than I was ever prepared to give Him credit for.