Jul 31

This is so…..UN-Fair!

Dear Polly,
Enough about the fair. Write about something else. We’ve heard enough.

Bored senseless,
Perry, Houston, TX

Dear Senseless Perry,

Thanks for writing.  And because you took the time to do so……. tonight Perry…. I will try NOT to write about the Preble County Fair.

But you will never guess what I saw today? A first place onion. Honest to goodness.  That got me thinking about some things.

Many of you know I am a self-confessed City Girl. Well, as it turns out, I am learning a great deal each time I go to the aforementioned fair.

For instance… today… I found out about a meteorite that crashed into Preble County. I don’t know the exact year, but I am guessing it was the early 1900s from the ages of the folks in the story. People saw it crash through the trees, and then hit the ground. These are the sort of things that interest me.

Then I learned about the shortage of lamb meat in the United States. There must be an increase of Gyro consumption. Perhaps a huge influx of Greek immigrants? Who knows, really.

I met a couple that has been coming to the Fair together every year since they’ve been married. They met at the Demolition Derby about 25 years ago. Yep. The Demolition Derby…for the first date. Thankfully, the marriage is still working out.

Before today, I only knew of the Model A Ford, and of course the Model T. I didn’t realize there were models in-between. But apparently, there was a B, C, D… and on. I just read online, about a Model S. Who knew?  You just don’t hear about them like you do the Model A and the Model T. Yet, this was another tidbit I learned today at the fair.

One thing has been bothering me all day though. And that is the little first place onion. City Girl that I am…. I cannot find out what exactly “makes” a Champion onion. I scoured the Fair Book. I looked high and low. I studied those little onions… sniffed them, poked them, eyed them closely.  I even asked around . Nothing.

I know my onions:  yellow, white, green, vidalia, and such.   I’ve eaten a boat load of onions in my life. I’ve even cried over onions.  But in all my days, I never saw one with a blue ribbon pinned on its chest.  Is it some kind of Champion swimmer, or something?   I guess I just wouldn’t be able to give ONE single onion a ribbon for being the best.

And there you have it… I will not discuss the fair at all tonight.   I will just write about flying rocks, Greek Immigration, true love, Ford Motor Company, and root vegetables.

Perry…. thanks.  I bet others are tired of hearing about this old Fair too.  Good thing we are going to peel right by it tonight.

Jul 30

Vat’s Entertainment….

You may have noticed a reoccurring theme the past couple of days.  (It is likely to continue for at least a couple more…..)

For you see…..  finally…. at long last….. it happened today.

The much anticipated, highly acclaimed, and “fried-everything-good” Preble County Fair arrived in town today.

Tickets were purchased. Crowds crowded in. Judges judged. Singers sang. And marching bands played. People spent dough on things fried in hot oil.

Children rode rides.  Quilts were hung. Balloons broke free from very small hands. Pickles were battered and thrown into vats of hot oil.

Ribbons were pinned on chests and on pies. Cows were bathed. Sheep wool met sheers.  Plastic rings sailed toward seas of bottles.  And doughs were dusted with powdered confections after emerging from drums of hot oil.

Goldfish dodged ping pong balls. Merry-Go-Round horses bobbed up and down. Races were raced.  Winners rejoiced and losers lamented. Oreos were dipped in dough, and plopped into tubs of hot oil.

Yes.  Come one and come all…. step right up …..to the fairest of fairs…. right here in Preble County.

The World Famous Preble County Fair. Since 1850.   I can only imagine what it must have been like back then… but I have a sneaky feeling they didn’t have nearly as many things fried in hot oil….  Just a guess.

Jul 29

I owe you…. eeeee…. aaaaay!

While at the Fairgrounds this afternoon….a friend asked me where I was born…. in reference to my dialect. I was born in Ohio…. but I’ve got Grits in my veins. I am pretty sure I was from the South in another life… if there is such a thing as “other lives”. But this time around, I guess I have picked up a bit of the Charleston drawl from my southern neighbors.

I used to say “you guys” when I’d address more than one person. “Hey, do you guys want to go get a burger?” ………..”What do you guys think about these red high heels on me?” (lol… just checking to see if you are paying attention….)

But now…. NOW… I say you all Y’all. “Have you all tried the new Tutti-Frutti-Pattootti Flavor at Ben & Jerry’s?” ………..”Thanks for stopping by this morning y’all.”  And there you have it. It appears my dialect has migrated.  Gone South.

But, back to the Fairgrounds. On my way out, I was shooting some photos. One of the Carnies yelled…”Aay! Aay lady! You can’t take a picture of that!”

Which brought forth more thoughts about language. You know, our vowels are quite adroit.

Need someone’s attention? Yell “Aaay”…. [ a ]

See a mouse? Did it scare you? Holler out “Eeeeeeee”…. [ e ]

When trying to state your case,  always start with I. [ i ]

Have a grand revelation? “Oooooh” …. [ o ]

Speak to someone with fond affection? “Yoooouuuuu.” [ u ]

Multi-taskers.  The versatile vowels. They work the same way in both the North and the South.  And no matter which side of the Mason-Dixon line you live on….. All y’all and you guys too…. every once in a while…. can be glad for a really good Vowel Movement.

 

(P.S.  Note to the Carny guy…  I am thinking I really CAN shoot that…. Aaaaaay!  Ohhhhhhhhh! )

Jul 28

Elephant Ears and Dinner Theatre

Now here is something, I’ll tell ya’. In this little county of ours, we don’t have the ballet, the opera, the theatre…. or for that matter…. a dinner theatre. There is a little TV at the Cassano’s Pizza King. That’s sorta’ like dinner theatre.

But we have cultural events which are much different. Yes, they are of an entirely different scope and scale.

And at this time of year, one of those events comes in the form of the county fair. That’s right. The Preble County Fair.

I for one, love it.

You see, I grew up in the city. I never went to a county fair. In fact, the first “fair” I ever attended, was the Ohio State Fair. I was about 17 years old, and was in Columbus playing softball. Some of the older members of the team suggested we go.

We mostly went to the “freak shows” which I did not care for one bit.  I saw those very “little” people who were also double-jointed contortionists. And a bearded lady. She was an “intentional” bearded lady. My Aunt Ursula had a beard… but she was always tweezing at it.  Aunt Ursula didn’t care for those chin-whiskers one bit and she didn’t want them either.  In a different tent…..a woman laid in a tank of slithering snakes. Snake Woman, befittingly.  None of this, nary one bit…. was of any interest to me.

But let me get back to this county…..

The Preble County Fair.  As mentioned earlier, I delight in this event. It was the first “county” fair of my life.  I discovered this several years after moving out here…. when I was about 35 or so. I can’t believe I went so long without this delicacy.  This is culture, at its very best.

I find great enjoyment in eating deep fried cauliflower, corn dogs, hamburgers, nachos… all of it. I love the 4-H events… from little farm hands “showing” animals, to the “sewing” competitions, and “talent” contests. I dig the tractor pulls and the harness races. It is of one of life’s best sights, to see a kid with a balloon in one hand, circus waffle in the other, and powdered sugar on every corner of her face.

Needless to say, this is one hot ticket. Cheesy Fries, Ring Tosses, and Pie Contests. It is all just around the corner. Yep. The Fair is coming to town.  Grab a Philly Cheese Steak and have a seat near the Talent Stage.  It is the best Dinner Theatre around.   Fair and Square.

Jul 27

One big wet cable message

There are all sorts of things that have happened in the course of history, that we will never know about. There are other things that we take for granted and seldom consider. And still others that were quite important at their “moment” in time, and now they have become irrelevant.

Other events…. we celebrate yearly. Like Grand Poobah Day. Holy smokes I love the Grand Poobah Day Parades when I get to wear my Poobah Hat, and eat corndogs with both mustard and ketchup. In fact, I can hardly wait for Grand Poohbah Day this year…. when I can go with all my Grand Poohbah Friends.   But I will reserve those details for another post here….

What brought all of this to mind was an event I looked up for today’s date. Wouldn’t you know…… on July 27th, in the year 1866… a monumental task was completed.

From the NY Times lead story for that date: “After two failures, Cyrus W. Field succeeded in laying the first underwater telegraph cable between North America and Europe. “

Now this is just begging for attention here. First off, this guy Cyrus must have been a great swimmer, and must’ve had incredible lung capacity. How was this done, really? I just keep seeing Wile E. Coyote plotting down little train tracks…. one after the other…. all in a row….thump, thump, thump. How does one lay an underwater telegraph cable?

The other thing that sparked my curiosity… what the heck do you make of the first two failed attempts?  I mean, with matters “underwater”… a “failed attempt” can really mean only one thing. Is this guy Fields some kind of freakish nine-lives guy?  Or, did he send minions for the first two endeavors?  So many unanswered questions with this little tidbit of history.

Yes, now I will have to explore much further into this matter.  And what… pray tell… was the first message that swam across this telegraph line. Who decided what to say, and who would say it? Who listened? Did they both speak the same language?  It was Trans-Atlantic after all.  Perhaps…. Billy Bob and Sven…. were they “friends”…..one on each end?

Hopefully, that first message was something profound, and useful.

Like: “You can pick your friends. You can pick your nose. But you can’t pick your friend’s nose.”

Hopefully, it wasn’t some generic song… or well-wishing between Dignitaries.

Or, I hope maybe it was something like… “When you’re out with your honey, and his nose is awful runny, and you think it’s kind of funny…. but it’s not…..” (You have to say it out loud. And fast.) It probably lost something in the Trans-Atlantic communication as well….  ahhhhh…. the perils of history….

Jul 26

Shake your groove thing… yeah, yeah.

A seldom discussed fact about cows:

They aren’t very good dancers.  I mean, cows are pretty talented in a lot of areas.  Most are outstanding in their fields.    But they’re not really built for the dancing thing.

Well, for every rule, there is an exception.  And that deviation comes in the form of lovely Margot Delmonico.   She started tapping her hooves them minute she could stand.  From the time she was a calf, she begged her mother to buy her a tutu. Her mother would ask little Margot what she wanted with such a thing. And Marg would say….”Mama. I am going to dance like no one is watching. And, I want to love like I’ll never be hurt.”

And she did. Margot practiced day in and day out on her ballet moves. She would stand at the split rail fence in the pasture and do plie’ after plie’. She practiced her jumps and her pirouettes. It got to the point where she could nearly jump over the moon. Yes she became quite good. She went on tour with MiCow Baryshnikov. They fell in love and were married. But that is another story.

The Press loved her. They would yell “Say Cheese, Margot.” And she would yell back, “Cheese takes milk to make…. But don’t even think about touching my udders, unless you want a hoof in the mouth.”  She was quite generous about doing Press Junkets, but she never would go to any Celebrity Roasts.

Yes, Margot danced like no one was watching. A cow with hopes and aspirations. Heart. Not to mention, a great rump.

She was Margot, full of grace. Bovine dancer. Clod hopper. Heifer Extraordinaire. Cow Ballerina.  She was Grade A in her Prime, I’ll tell you.

Then there was her sister… Lacey.  The raucous Lacey left home at a very young age.
She went to New York… to strip.

Jul 25

Swinging in the rain….

Some people hear voices.. Some see invisible people.. Others have no imagination whatsoever.  With that said….

Please let me introduce you to Alfred.

Alfred Slobberedon.

He is my newest pally in my arsenal of sock monkeys.  He came to me yesterday.   Alfred was saved by a couple of dear friends…. who are golden to the core.  They knew I took in wayward sock monkeys, so they brought him by.  We signed papers concerning his adoption.  At that point, we were conducting Monkey Business.

Apparently, they rescued Al from his wicked step-mother-monkey…. She kept him in a little cage…  and told him he’d never evolve into anything.  He gets chronic headaches now.  Aspirin seems to help his little weary primate head.

When my friends dropped him by, Alfred became the primary interest of our two terrier-type dogs.  Unfortunately for him….they slobbered on him relentlessly, and chewed his left nostril off.  Thankfully, I had a Black Sharpie Marker on hand, and put his nostril back.  He can breathe much easier now.

I’ve been trying to make him feel comfortable here… playing games and such.  We tried “Simon Says” but he likes “Monkey See. Monkey Do.” a lot more.   But we play a lot of different things.  You know, we mostly just monkey around.

I like the little guy.  Through it all, he has kept a great attitude.  He likes swinging in the rain.  He also enjoys riding around on my shoulders.  But, regrettably,  it makes me feel like I always have a monkey on my back.

He wanted me to tell you his favorite joke tonight… so here it goes.  (Its about Monkey Bars.)

————–

A woman and a monkey walk into a bar.

The bartender says, “Hey!  Where’d you get the pig?”

The woman says, “That’s not a pig, that’s a monkey.”

The bartender says, “I was talking to the monkey.”

————–

Me and that monkey don’t go into bars, as a rule.  I eat a lot of pork, but I don’t like to be called a pig.  But you know…..I think me and this little monkey are going to be happy together.  Can you imagine?

“I am not nearly so interested in what monkey man was derived from, as I am in what kind of monkey he is to become.”  -Loren Eiseley


Jul 24

Frog Yells At Dog…. Thrice.

Some days are stellar.  Those are the days when there seems to be a little pleasantry around every corner.

For me, today was one of them.  It started off by saving a drowning mouse.  Then I was fortunate enough to share an afternoon with friends.  Great company and wonderful food…. kids swimming.  Terrific.

But maybe the best part was the rain.  Yes, midway through our “swim-party” it started raining buckets.  Well, not literally.  That would hurt.  Especially metal buckets.   Just like if it rained cats & dogs.  For one, that would be horrible for the animals.  Not to mention, it would be pretty dang  gross…. and, of course….dangerous for those of us standing on the ground.  If it were raining Kittens and Chihuahuas, it would not be nearly as bad as….. say….  Great Danes and Cougars.  (Oh No.  It is the Tangent Queen… at it again.)  The point is:  We needed this rain.  Stellar.

But tonight, after the rain, something really cool happened.  I took our dog Ollie out to her “spot”, and we happened upon the biggest frog I have ever seen in my whole life.  I’ll call him Ted the Tremendous.

Well.  Ollie went over calmly and sniffed the gargantuan amphibian.  Apparently Ted wasn’t so keen on having his frog butt sniffed by a dog.  So he leaped high in the air, frog legs flailing in all directions.

This abrupt behavior gave Ollie the very strong indication that she now has some kind of super-crazy-good toy in front of her.  She glanced over my way, flashed her doggie grin….”Thanks Mom!”  And the games were afoot.

Despite all my efforts… Ollie would not leave that frog alone.  Eventually, Ted could not take another moment of this canine interaction.  Then it happened.  In all my days… I have NEVER heard a frog scream.  Well…. tonight was the night… I’ll tell you.  Ol’ Ted sat there and gave out three long and powerful screams.

It shocked the heck out of me… not to mention Ollie.  (… and it presented a chance for Polly to grab Ollie’s collar.)  By the time I got the little missy in the house… and my camera back outside….  Ted had vanished.

The scream of a frog.    I mean…. who knew?  Yes, another day on Planet Earth filled with pleasant little surprises.   Amazing.  Remarkable.  Stellar.

Jul 23

Why not “Generation Chic” or something… Boomers?

We have become the culture of lazy phraseology; not to mention reckless writing.  Now just a little minute…. before everyone jumps my case about my grammatical practices here.  Please understand that at least I have an abbreviated understanding of the English Language.  It is my second language after all.   And the dot, dot, dots….. well…. I couldn’t write without them.  It is my way of dramatically pausing.  All would be lost here without them.

Back to the matter at hand.  The Culture of Lazy Phraseology.  Everything these days has to come with a catchy locution.  There was a time when we actually spoke in full sentences.  For instance, “She is my very dear friend, day in, and day out, and has been for years.”  But no.  Not now.  “She’s my BFF 24/7 4EAE.”

Cool.

@TEOTD  I give u 2MI.  AAR  I WYWH, F2F PEEPS.  I’d b PDH.  So W/B, K? ADBB!

WTF?

You know…… I wish people would start writing and talking and…. well…. even typing again.    Forget cursive.  Cursive Handwriting died a slow and agonizing death some time ago.  No resuscitation for that poor soul.  May it rest in peace.

Guess who it ended with?  “The Baby Boomers” (…and when the heck did they start naming the “generations” with this Lazy Phraseology? )  I am going to blame it on Generation X.  (BTW…. LOL… at least they could have named my generation something better than Baby Boomers…. for crying out loud….  I mean, S2S, it SUX.

I’m getting older.  That’s all there is to it.  The other day I told an “attractive” couple that they looked “fetching”….. they had not heard that term in years.  They LOL at me on FB.    (Can you hear the creaking and cracking of my joints?  And I don’t mean the kind you smoke….)

So off I go now.  I am going to find a Frisch’s Big Boy Restaurant.  I’ll put on my Poodle Skirt, and drive there in my ’57 Chevy.  I’m ordering a Fish Sandwich and Onion Rings… with a chocolate shake.  Then I am going home and watching a few episodes of “The Dick Van Dyke Show”; “That Girl”; “The Munsters” and “Bewitched.”  I’ll take the dog for a walk.  Say “Good Evening” to folks I meet on the street…. then head home and turn in early.  Right after a glass of warm milk.

or… OTB…. TIAD…. CUL8R.  Lazy Phrazy Kind of Dazy….

Jul 22

To be… a cotton candy sister….

There once were three brothers who grew up together in a field.

Johnny, George, and Vern Thornyhead.

Not only were they brothers… they were pals. Thick as thieves, they were.

Yet….every time the wind blew, they would bump into one another. Of course… their barbs did not feel good… one to the next.  In fact, they downright hurt. Even still, the brothers ignored these intrusions, and remained close companions their entire lives.

They came to discover….that when you are one of those individuals who are irksome, sharp, and thorny… you have to learn to live with the other pricks in your life.   One thing that I have noticed….is that the pricks in this world mostly hang out with one another in groups… such as this one.

I hope upon hopes … that if I come back as some kind of plant…. I truly wish I would grow up in the Cotton Candy Field, with my Pink Cotton Candy Sisters….

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and loves you just the same”
-E. Hubbard

(Photography NOTE:  This image I took tonight…. reminded me of a story that my friend Janet J send me about porcupines.  Turns out… those little fellas are pricks too!)