Terry squashes Hubby in the great pumpkin contest 

Shelley Terry

Victory never smelled so sweet — sweet as a pumpkin about the size of a softball, that is.

Yes, faithful readers, I toppled Hubby’s dreams of winning the pumpkin contest at the Ashtabula County Fair. You’ll recall that Hubby and I challenged each other to who could grow the best pumpkin for the fair. Actually, my pumpkin garnered second place, but it was enough to beat Hubby, who had no pumpkins to enter thanks to Mother Nature. 

Faithful readers will recall Hubby’s plants started out much greener and bigger than mine. In fact, he accurately referred to my plants as “puny” and “anemic.” I went into the contest knowing he has a green thumb and I have ... well, no gardening skills to speak of.

But, Mother Nature was on my side over the Fourth of July weekend when we got several inches of rain. Hubby’s plants drowned in the deluge, while I had one — one out of five — to survive. 

Only one pumpkin was left on that vine. All the others, including Hubby’s plants, withered and turned yellow. 

I babied that one pumpkin. I lovingly talked to it every day after work. I made sure it was safe from Hubby’s hit-and-run lawn mowing skills. A few days before the fair, Hubby jeered at me. 

“That pumpkin isn’t going to win anything,” he said. “I’m the winner because I had the best pumpkin vines before the flood.”

I said, “It’s a pumpkin contest, not a vine contest.”

So, red ribbon or blue ribbon, victory was mine.

As readers know, I enter lots of garden vegetables and flowers in the fair. This year, I garnered a blue ribbon for something new — the biggest weed!

I didn’t realize it was a category until I was telling a master gardener that the things that grew best this year were weeds. She said to enter one. 

I drove to our farm in Plymouth Township and found a 9-foot-tall weed. It was so big that I couldn’t cut the stalk with a knife, so I chopped it down with a hatchet. 

I couldn’t imagine anyone producing a bigger weed, and I was right. The weed became a featured attraction in the Floral Building. About a dozen of my Jefferson classmates met for dinner Tuesday night at the fair and the weed was a must-see item. 

What fun I had showing it off. A weed of all things.

I enjoyed meeting many faithful readers who stopped me to say hello. So far, I have loved every minute of the fair and once again fair week was a highlight of my summer. Thank you!


When staff writer Shelley Terry’s Delightful Granddaughter told her out-of-state cousins that Grandmaw’s weed won first place, they said, “We thought marijuana was illegal in Ohio.”

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