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It’s September, so that means my pumpkin obsession has re-emerged.

Fall is my favorite season, and Halloween is my favorite holiday. I can’t get enough pumpkin-flavored food, or decorative and real pumpkins to decorate with at my house.

A friend of mine texted me that Pumpkin Spice Lattes had arrived at Starbucks for the season, because she knows I’m usually camped out to get one. I weaned myself off them last year. However, my boss ordered a pumpkin Frappuccino when we met at the coffee shop recently, so I did, too. With one sip, I have officially fallen off the wagon.

All the ice cream and yogurt shops sell pumpkin-flavored concoctions only this time of year. I look forward to opening pumpkin season like my older son looks forward to the opening of duck-hunting season. That reminds me of hunter orange, which reminds me of pumpkins.

It’s also getting close to time for me to start baking pumpkin pies, the only thing besides iced tea and scrambled eggs that I make. I use the recipe on the back of the Libby’s can, but I add extra sugar. And lots of whipped cream on top is a must. Both my sons have always loved my pumpkin pie, too.

Pumpkin recipes are everywhere I look. Not to go all Bubba Gump, but there are roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin butter, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin dip, pumpkin pancakes — just all kinds of wonderful things.

Although I can attest from my one pumpkin-pie disaster that pumpkin doesn’t taste good without sugar, pumpkin is still good for you. It has fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and I even saw a recipe online for a good face mask made with raw pumpkin, but I haven’t tried that one, yet.

As soon as pumpkins are for sale in the stores and nurseries, I’m buying. It’s not a simple process for me. I’ve bought vehicles quicker than picking out pumpkins. I pick out several pumpkins for comparison. I like a juxtaposition of round ones and tall ones. Good stalks are a must.

Some families look for the perfect Christmas tree to chop down; I look for the perfect pumpkins for the perfect jack-o’-lantern face. I’ll never forget that when I was in early labor with my firstborn and was supposed to be on bed rest, my husband drove me to a grocery-store parking lot and climbed a mountain of pumpkins while I pointed him in the direction of the ones I wanted.

When I have really, really prized pumpkins, I lug them into my house each night, fearful that some hoodlum will steal them.

I have no idea how I got such an addiction to pumpkins. I don’t know if it was a picture in a nursery-rhyme book, or if my mother ate lots of pumpkin when she was pregnant with me.

My 15-month-old granddaughter’s favorite book at my house is Peek-a Boo! — which has drawings of kids in Halloween costumes. The test will be whether she likes my pumpkin pie, but I’m sure she will — the gourd doesn’t fall far from the vine, and she’s mine.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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