Can anyone relate to this?
"Iím not proud of it and Iím not bragging, but I was a teenage pumpkin thief. Itís been 24 years since the night of my only crime spree and itís time to come clean from the pumpkin guts-stained guilt.

I thought about saying "Gourdzilla" belonged to a mean old man who shouted at small children and kicked puppies so that it might be seen as some sort of cosmic justice for a cranky old coot who deserved it, but the truth is the pumpkin in question was snatched from the well porch of a family home along what is now named Canoe Ripple Road in Licking Township.
The family had no small children so no little hearts were broken but that doesnít justify what we did.

.....Kevin said the pumpkin was huge. It was so big, he said, that it would take two of us to carry it.

We cruised past the house several times, checking the approach and getaway route, scoping the yard for obstacles and plotting where to park the car.

"Gourdzilla" was sitting on the well porch, about 50 to 75 feet back from the road and just out of the light shining from the house porch.

And he was as big as Kevin had said.

....We ran to the well porch and in classic Three Stooges form, we all bent over at the same time to grab Gourdzilla. The collision of heads left us all seeing stars and we fumbled to get a grip on Gourdzilla.

Two of us could have carried the giant pumpkin to the car faster, but being the inexperienced criminals we were, we all tried to hold on to a corner of a round pumpkin while running down a pitch-dark road.

I went down first, tripping over my own feet. My fall dropped Kevin and John, sending Gourdzilla rolling on down the road and into a ditch.

We "rassled" Gourdzilla out of the ditch while Martin yelled at us to get in the car. With Gourdzilla out of the ditch, John jumped into the passenger side rear seat and Kevin and I jammed the pumpkin through the car door and onto Johnís lap.

We were speeding back toward Wentlings Corners. John was turning a nice shade of red under the weight of the giant pumpkin.

We had successfully grabbed Gourdzilla and escaped but we had given no thought as what to do with him.

We lacked the nerve to smash his guts on the main street of Knox. None of us could take him home and face explaining where he came from.

Gourdzilla had to be dumped and since I had to be home by 11 p.m., he had to be dumped fast.

As we headed down the hill into Turkey City, the decision was made to roll Gourdzilla out of the car.

Martin swerved into the left lane and John opened his door. I reached over and tried to roll Gourdzilla out the door. I managed to get the pumpkin rolled up onto Johnís right leg but lacked the leverage to shove the danged thing out the door.

Martin and Kevin were shouting at me to get Gourdzilla out of the car and John was screaming from the pain of balancing the tremendously heavy pumpkin on one leg. The car was speeding down the road and rapidly approaching downtown Turkey City.

I got myself up on my knees on the back seat and gave Gourdzilla a mighty push and he rolled out of the car.

I fell across Johnís lap and ended up hanging half way out of the car. John quickly grabbed a hold on me. There was a lot of shouting.

I looked back toward the rear of the car and there was Gourdzilla, rolling and bouncing along at whatever speed we were traveling. He was not disintegrating.

Not only was Gourdzilla not smashing into little orange pieces, but he appeared to be gaining on the car. There was a lot of shouting and now some screaming.

I was soon back in the car and both John and I watched through the back window as Gourdzilla continued to bounce higher and longer as he gained ground on the car. There was a lot more shouting and screaming.

The whole "incident" outside Turkey City couldnít have lasted more than a few seconds but it was unfolding in slow motion as we lived it.

Martin had to slow down to make the slight curve and Gourdzilla Ė somehow still in one huge and menacing piece -- used the opportunity to make one last incredible bounce. It was a scene directly out of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

We swerved slightly left as Gourdzilla passed overhead, disappearing into the darkness of the lower roadside.

I went home and endured a long night of nightmares which featured giant pumpkins flying through the air.

The next day, Allegheny-Clarion Valley High School hosted a football game against Keystone.

I was sitting in the stands and I overheard a fellow about my age talking to his friend.

"Ö and then this big %*&#$@ pumpkin came smashing into the side of the porch and exploded," I heard him say.

I could feel my ears turning red and I was sure he would figure out I had something to do with Gourdzilla slamming into his home.

I made a quick exit and never looked back. I had committed theft and that was bad enough, but I also had committed criminal mischief in damaging someoneís home.

I never stole another pumpkin.

But every now and then, when the autumn moon shines bright and the wind carries sound just right over the ridge to my home, I can hear the echoes of four teenage boys screaming like little girls as the ghost of Gourdzilla chases them into Turkey City." Rodney L. Sherman, Clarion News Editor

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