Summer’s last hurrah has finally abated The autumnal equinox thus celebrated Suburban druids glumly shuffle back To resume their mall duties at Claire’s Piercing Shack Leaving the season to thus be enjoyed By less goth-tacular girls and boys Who rarely spend time taking portraits in trees Preferring to converse with the Lord on their knees They travel in packs, budding evangelicals Their twerkless ways seen by some, puritanical But, lo, Saturday night they come ready to prove They also can rock (lightly), this high school youth group Onto the church bus, vintage 1983 Clambering to way-past-their-prime vinyl seats They lower the windows, the few that aren’t stuck As the youth leader re-learns driving stick – double-clutch! Onward to roads even Amish won’t tread Lest they breaketh an axle or e’en Uncle Jed Till a sign at the curve announces at last “Welcome to Farmer Murray’s Hayrides & Pumpkin Patch” First to the Maize Maze while light still remains Some use Google Earth to beat a hasty escape While couples dive straight into the heart of raw pone In futile attempts to elude chaperones Then a roar and a waft of unburnt hydrocarbons Draws all involved to a flatbed made for haulin’ As old as the pastor and attached to a Deere Ringed with ragged hay bales to poke every rear The youths huddle close but dare not to touch So “Leave room for Jesus!” won’t assault them too much Singing choruses to hymns with a contemporary beat That would scare the wig off of good Charles Wesley After forty-five minutes (or three-quarters a mile) The hayride is over, but not everyone smiles For entombed in the hay three earrings lie lost Along with two contacts and a leather neck cross But spirits, holyish, are soon set back ablaze As sticks and dry stalks in a tepee arranged Are engulfed, like Elijah fought the prophets of Ba’al (If you don’t catch that reference, Sunday School failed) Marshmallows are parceled, squishy manna from Walgreens When Farmer Murray steps forward, his eyes lacking peace “We cannot roast upon sticks, the county revoked my permit Thanks to that Episcopalian kid with a fascination for shivs” No one’s too upset, besides a pyro named Lori Chocolate needn’t be gooey to give God the glory For creating Creation, graham and Hershey bars They eat their s’mores cold under a blanket of stars “We forgot about pumpkins!” cries Chester McMac And the group dives into the patch with a collective voice-crack Tapping and rapping on each orange gourd To find the sincerest amongst the great horde “I hope the Great Pumpkin will like what I’ve found!” “Are you some sort of Calvinist?” “No, I like Charlie Brown.” Each gathers their bounty quite pleased with their lot Except the youth leader who just got a rock Then the guy with the guitar, because there’s always that guy Starts strumming Danny Gokey and all the girls sigh Segueing at length to “In the Sweet By and By” Till someone suggests they go get some pie So they circle the fire, clasp hands and pray That Halloween gets canceled (just kidding, by the way) Back onto the bus, bidding the farmer adieu They drive for lemon meringue, perhaps French Silk, too That gives me an idea, I don’t know about you
This article originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of Chatter magazine, which can be found, probably, by clicking here.