By Ruth A. Ringelstetter
Several years ago I found a picture of an old red truck with the back stacked with glowing jack-o-’lanterns. The picture had been taken on Halloween night and the only location mentioned was the name of a town in southern Wisconsin. I sent the photo to Joann but told her I didn’t really know where it was. Then I stumbled on a second photo. That one named a different town as the location. Same county, but different town. I tried to find out the real location, and even asked our brother-in-law who lives down that way. He couldn’t remember ever seeing it.
Last year, on the day before Halloween, I was home and began wondering about the truck. I took out the gazetteer and started to study the roads between the two towns that had been mentioned as locations. There didn’t seem to be that many roads, and I thought that I could drive down and see if I could find the truck. Wouldn’t Joann be surprise if I found it!
I took the gazetteer along and drove south. When I got to the first town mentioned, I turned onto the first road that would take me between the two towns. Imagine my surprise when I had only travelled a short distance and came upon the truck. I drove far enough to get turned around, and returned to the truck. I parked across from it and snapped a photo with my phone. Then I attached it to an email and sent it to Joann at work.
She replied almost immediately and asked me how I had figured out the location. I replied that I was sitting in front of it and the photo was from my phone. I told her about my dumb luck of picking the right starting point for my search. She was very excited and we immediately made plans to go the following night to take photos.
The next night, Halloween night, I met Joann right after work and we drove south. We wanted to look at the truck in the daylight so she could check out the background for the truck images before dusk. Then we drove around town taking a few other photos.
The trick or treaters were out and we saw princesses, a dinosaur and other creatures along the sidewalks. We also spent some time in the town cemetery, but made sure to be done and back at the truck before dusk.
When we got back to the truck, we were happy to see that the pumpkins were already lit for the evening. Joann knew she had a short period of time to get as many shots as possible, so she worked quickly moving around the truck taking as many angles as she could.
When it was too dark to continue photographing, the owner came down the driveway and chatted with Joann for a bit. He said that he had been doing the truck for a few years but didn’t know how much longer he would continue. It’s a lot of pumpkins to carve, and he needs to find family help each year for all of the carving.
Now that we’ve found the truck, we’re hoping to make a return trip this Halloween. We hope the owner can continue his tradition for many years to come!
Happy Halloween and Happy Shunpiking!