Foxy Mama's Blog

Stories, musings and ramblings from the front porch. Pull up a rocking chair and sit for a spell...


Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Out of my gourd...

My life sometimes gets up a head of steam and plows down everything in sight, like a locomotive out of control. But then, other times my life is like a punctured baloon which is limp and fizzling. Right now it is wavering somewhere in between… For one thing, it’s snowing!

No it isn’t. I was just kidding, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. It is leafing though and it’s the strangest thing to watch…the leaves look exactly like they’re taking turns dropping in graceful little “plops.” First one, then another from another tree, then another and… It’s like they held a summit meeting during the night and made an agreement how to proceed. It starts at the very top of the tree. Usually the autumn leaves blow around all over the place but this morning there is no wind.

I wanted to catch them in the act! Oh, I don’t mean the overt act of blowing around on a windy day. That’s a given, but this straight plopping down of the leaves is a completely new phenomenon for me to see and I’ve been at this watching stuff a good many years. Usually, I go to bed at night and the trees are fully leafed and then the next morning they’re all on the ground.

I guess we just don’t get that many completely ‘calm’ days in the Fall. It looks like a soft snowfall of huge flakes, only it’s leaves. I finally feel like I’m getting the most out of an autumn. After all, last month it was the squirrels hanging upside down on the tips of the branches and this month it’s polite leaves trying to masquerade as snow. I suppose this seems lame to some folks reading this, but I’m feeling privileged right now because Mother Nature has finally decided to include me ‘in the loop,’ even if only for a couple of hours. I bet Jane Goodall felt like this while she was observing the chimpanzees frolic around…

Oops, I guess I spoke too soon…there’s a breeze coming up now and the leaves are whirling around in a maelstrom, as they usually do. That’s okay though, because I finally saw the beginning dance for myself and the show lasted for awhile and was very entertaining. I’m now content… For once, I was “Foxy on the spot.”

This past weekend, our small city saw the annual gourd sacrifice. It effectively clogs the city like a drain stoppered up by greasy, sticky debris for a couple of days, starting with the preparations and lasting through the monumental clean-up which takes place immediately after the fireworks marking the end. I suppose they clean up immediately because they want to eliminate the fodder so the midnight revelers, sometimes known as the inebriated college crowd, don’t take it into their noggins to have a pumpkin smashing party.

This year 27, 584 poor gourds gave up their meager lives for the sole purpose of a showing in the Guiness Book of World Records. This number was short 1,368 from last year’s world record for the most gaudy gourds in one place, but we still hold the record and people have started coming to our celebration from across the country, across the ocean and perhaps even from outer space. Well, they might’ve come from outer space. You should see some of them! We’ve even attracted the attention of major publications and some celebrities!

Although we didn’t break our record this year, it still provides our area with a whole new way of keeping the local farmers in business and providing unprecedented ways of merchandising nothing and making an economic success of it. Sigh… I wish it would provide a way of lowering taxes. We could feel a lot more enthusiastic if that was a benefit.

Since its beginnings in 1991 with only 600 pumpkins, our community’s gourd fest has grown steadily in popularity and produce. They start planning for the next one the day after the current one and it now takes between 800 and 900 volunteers pitching in to make the festival run smoothly. There are still lots of curmudgeons like us who just wish for a peaceful weekend but I concede that it’s probably good family entertainment if you have kids…

The big fandango has three entertainment stages featuring more than 40 performers throughout the day. Plus, you can see the largest Costume Parade in New England, the Pumpkin Festival Arts & Crafts Fair, a large corporate Pumpkin Patch activity tent, the Museum of Pumpkin Oddities, a pumpkin seed-spitting contest, pumpkin pie eating contest, and much more. For teens and kids, there’s a very popular climbing wall. Kids can also get their face painted, get a pumpkin tattoo (temporary!), or buy a balloon.

We didn’t go. For us it was routine, as usual, chores and errands. I was on a special mission. I was committed to keeping watch over the riotously colored trees. I’ve been assiduously trying to catch the leaves in the process of turning color. And after all, I don’t want to miss anything important…

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Thar she blows...

Her Sweetness always told me while I was growing up that “a watched pot never boils.” The same could be true for volcanos… Right now we’re all waiting for Mt. St. Helens to erupt again and it has occurred to me that waiting for a volcano to blow is a lot like waiting for a baby’s birth. The wait goes on forever and the eventual explosion changes everything around you forevermore. Once the expulsion starts, there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

My baby (younger sonny) was thirty a little over a week ago. Wow, time flies when you’re having fun… Younger sonny is still a bit like an explosion. He’s energetic, can be abrupt at times and is always surprising me with his antics. He’ll stop by, usually for a refrigerator raid, rush into the house in a big hurry, under the tyranny of a severe time crunch, and then sooner than not, boom, he’s on his way out again.

Younger sonny is generally cheerful. I used to say he was “born with a smile and a song” although age and circumstances have honed that down some. After all, he’s stuck in retail hell and that could wipe the smile off anybody’s face at certain times. Younger and older sonnies are antipodal, like the ying and the yang. Older sonny is mostly quiescent and ruminative, but aquiver, like the mountain before the eruption. Although he does erupt from time to time too and then the lava, it doth flow. Beautiful daughter? She’s very far away, on the other side of this vast country, and presiding over her own little explosions, who just happen to be the world’s most adorable grandchildren. ~;^)

Her Sweetness, on the other hand, always explodes on the scene with the force akin to 1,000 megawatts. Considering her usual volatility, it’s like having a mini Mt. St. Helens right on the scene. She’s small but she’s volatile. When she enters the door it’s like having a dozen people enter at once. And then she launches this monologue about being terribly busy and she can’t possibly stay and…

I’ve come now to realize that she’s on her way out as she’s on her way in. Sigh… I’ve told her I recognize that she can’t stay but could she please refrain from saying it?! Psychologically, I fume, it’s a blow… "Now listen here," she says, “you just don’t understand…I have to bake hundreds of pies for orders and make tons of jams and jellies for orders and I have to have it all done yesterday and…” You get the picture. She doesn’t actually say hundreds and tons and yesterday but she pronounces what she has to do in a way that suggests those terms. She has always been this way and I suppose she always will be. Her Sweetness and I are often like a fuse and a butane lighter… But with Her Sweetness the wait for the eventual explosion is never long.

Waiting for a volcano to blow also reminds me of politics … The steam rising from Mt. St. Helens is like the steam from the pot boiling away in this ole gray noggin as I watch over the current political shenanigans and the nastiness and vituperation that smothers me like a toxic cloud, choking off my usual genial countenance. I’m not going to go into a political tirade here. We all have our own ideas about things and the beauty of the system (so far anyway) is that we all get our own opportunity to weigh in in another couple of weeks. I’m impatient by nature so I’m having a hard time waiting for the resolution. I sure hope the mountain of agitation will finally become dormant but I suspect the rumblings will not go quietly away and the lawyers will probably flow like molten lava across the land laying down a swath of human misery.

So meanwhile, we watch and we wait…
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