Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Pumpkin festival and more

This past week has been a busy one here in Barnesville. I baked lots of pumpkin bread in the Olney school kitchens for the Olney senior class to sell at the Pumpkin festival. I got to know Quaker Richard Simon better as we worked side-by-side mixing dough and scooping pumpkin bread batter into cake tins. He is an amazing man, who goes from dawn to dusk (literally) baking for the school before and during the festival. Cleda, the alumni liaison, is no slouch herself, working for hours on end to supervise, organize and bake.

The Pumpkin Festival is Barnesville's biggest annual event. People come from all over for the food, including slicse of $2 pumpkin pie, as well as the carnival rides and, of course, the weighing of the pumpkins. This year, King Pumpkin weighed 1,175 pounds. And don't forget the tobacco spitting contest.

I liked the way the festival, rides and all, was woven right into Main Street and the other major streets of the town. I'd never been to a fair of this sort that wasn't exiled to a field on the outskirts (or far outside) of the town holding it. I think it must be great for residents to stroll up the street and be part of the festival. On the other hands, I'm told some people leave town for the duration.

I helped sell pumpkin bread in the Olney booth, helped with the Barnesville historical society's book sale (hardcovers 50¢; paperbacks a quarter), manned the Obama booth, and I marched with the Obama float in the parade, handing out literature, so I felt very involved during the festival. I've never participated in a political campaign before. (How many times have I said, over the phone, 'This is Diane, a volunteer with Barack Obama's campaign for change here in Belmont County?')

So Republican friends, don't hate me! I'm really not a politcal animal. I don't like the way politics divides and alienates people. I know thoughtful, caring and intelligent people belong to both parties and hold the same values of wanting to make the world a safer, more compassionate and more justice-filled place. And idealist friends, I know Obama is not the perfect candidate, but I am in a state where votes count, and I do believe the country needs a change of direction. So there it is, my one and only (I hope) political speech.

Tomorrow I go to an Amish farm to get milk! I can't imagine having the opportunity to do this in Columbia, and I am very much looking forward to it.

I've also picked apples in the school apple orchard last week, and peaches from neighbors Fran Taber's orchard. Have I mentioned I am enjoying the rural life?

Tomorrow, Johanna comes with the boys' friends Elvin and Phlip to visit for the boys' 14th birthday. I'm very happy to be seeing friends from home!

Of course, life is not perfect, but I won't dwell on the various vexations.

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