There are two odd things on view in the Sequoia High School library in Everett. One is an aquarium with brightly colored inhabitants — plastic fish– that swim around a water-filled tank.
The other unusual decoration is an uncarved pumpkin
that’s been on the counter since September.
Don’t we toss those away before winter?
Diana Parks, learning center specialist, was in no rush to sack this squash. Like a cherished tome of Hemingway or Dickens, the gourd has been revered in its literary home.
It’s stood the test of months looking like it’s just been plucked from the vine.
She bought the keeper at QFC shortly before October.
“It wasn’t a pretty one,” she said. “Who would buy it?”
She would. The shape appealed to her. Parks said she appreciated the stem and that it sat upright.
And she sure can pick her pumpkins.
The one she displayed at the library last year lasted until March.
Janet Reid, who teaches a class called Guided Study and who helps in the library, told me about the monument.
“It appears to be the Dorian Gray of pumpkins,” Reid said. “As gardeners are planting their summer gardens and hoping for a good growing season, we’re still celebrating last year’s.”
Reid has lived in Everett for 24 years and has worked for the Everett School District for 10 years. Her Guided Study class helps students finish incomplete classes.
She was a master gardener for WSU Extension Snohomish County and is an avid gardener. She volunteers at the Snohomish County Domestic Abuse Services of Snohomish County thrift store and is a student at Everett Community College.
Her sons are both grown and she has two granddaughters.
Keeping extreme pumpkins is not a hobby.
“It’s some sort of novelty,” Reid said. “We’re all a little amazed it’s still fresh.”
Priding myself on my sense of smell, I entered the Sequoia library on nose alert. Surely that old squash smelled but they weren’t admitting it.
There was no stink.
The orb was solid, not squishy at all.
There was no innard sloshing liquid sound.
Parks theorized that ventilation in the library helped preserve the pumpkin.
“It’s cooler in here than in most of the rooms,” she said.
On Valentine’s Day, a student decorated the pumpkin in red and pink hearts.
“Some kids wanted to carve it,” Parks said. “It’s a harvest pumpkin, not a jack o’lantern.”
She said harvest pumpkins are known to be displayed until turkey time.
The Sequoia librarian has managed the library for a dozen years. She’s worked for the Everett School District for more than 22 years.
Parks and her husband have three sons, a daughter-in-law and two precious grandsons, she said.
“I like to travel, read, collect rocks from around the world and garden,” she said. “I also love to breathe fresh air and no place is better than living right here in the Northwest.”
She has her dream job, she said.
Among her end-of-term chores this week is planning an appropriate ending for the pumpkin.
If it’s decided that a custodian will shove the squash off the top of the school roof, I hope students aren’t disappointed.
This pumpkin might bounce rather than bust.
Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451, email@example.com