Otherwise Known as the “I Don’t Know Parade”

This year my mom and I did something a little different.  We wanted to keep it low key but still go out and do something to celebrate the holiday, so we decided to go to a nearby small town and check out the local scene.  I figured since I live in Arkansas, right in the middle of the I Love America bible belt, there should be something good going on.  I envisioned local shops selling homemade pies and fudge, artwork depicting our American heritage, and who knows, maybe some cool antique collections of American memorabilia on display.  Wishful thinking is what that was.

We saw that a small town about 40 -45 min. away was going to have a parade and though I’m sort of bah humbug when it comes to parades, I sort of thought it might be fun to check out.  We got there about 40 min. before the parade was to start and there were already people lining up on the street (for the record, we were there that early b/c I couldn’t remember how to get there or how long it was going to take).

The parade started at exactly 10:00 and went as follows:

I was there and I still don’t know what the golf cart was for.

As far as I know, Arkansas isn’t known for its pioneer heritage so I’m not sure why those girls in front are dressed like that

I don’t know what those girls and that lady have to do with the fire department or why she’s in a wife beater

I think that first vehicle used to be a part of a tractor.  I don’t know why old men are driving either one of those things.

Random kids riding their bikes.  Yeah, I don’t get why either.

Nascar represented of course

That’s how we do floats up here in these parts

FFA represent!  I thought there would be more kids on this one.

That’s a bulldog mascot in the truck so, maybe something to do with the high school?

Again, not so sure about this pioneer heritage they’ve got going on here

What the hell??

That’s it.  That was the WHOLE parade.  By 10:12 it was over.  There’s only one street that goes through the town and it took three times as long to get out of there than was the actual length of the parade.  I think my favorite part wasn’t the actual parade itself but watching the local people.

I knew I was in for a treat when not even 10 seconds after the road had been blocked, a beat up old car came and swerved around the road block, cut across the parking lot where we were parked.  The lady driving was missing a couple of teeth, wearing a small tank top over her slightly larger frame, her teenage passenger smoking a cigarette, and with her windows rolled down yelled (with her southern accent adding two extra syllables to the last word), “This is g@#damn bullshit!”  Ahh, America.

*Sorry the pics are small and crappy.  Of course, the same can be said about the parade.

Rural King Pt. Deux: T-Shirt Edition

Remember when I was visiting my sister in Illinois and mentioned this dandy little store?

Where you can buy anything from school supplies to farm equipment to clothing.  This store is such a small town throw back that they still use their own local form of credit for farmers:

In the last post I told you about the Anti-Monkey Butt Powder and wipes I found on the shelves but today I’m concentrating solely on the various T-shirts Rural King has to offer.  And what an offer it is.

Let’s start with the kiddies shall we?

Ribbons and bows and camo clothes, that’s what little girls are made of. And here I thought I was made of sugar and spice and all that’s nice.  Thanks for finally setting me straight Rural King.

That deer doesn’t look like he fears anybody.  Looks more like he’s crazed and rabid.

I’ll just go ahead and say this now, hunting creeps me out.  I don’t understand it, have never understood it, and I hope I never will understand it.  And I can tell you that no child of mine will EVER wear a shirt like this one.

Let’s move on the the grown up shirts.  Some are for the ladies:

Winning style – head to hoof! Oh brother.  Seriously, why would a girl WANT to be a barn beauty?  What does that even mean?  That you beat out the cows and pigs in a beauty contest?  “It was a close one Ethel but in the end you win.  Ol Bessie just isn’t the same since she came down with mad cow.  Congratulations .”

Wow.  That’s a bit extreme.  Must be some tractor…or some crappy boyfriend.  I guarantee the girl wearing that shirt wears this one as well:

Boys, don’t feel left out.  This one’s for you:

Let’s take a closer look because is just gets better and better:

Hubba hubba.  I’m especially digging the farmer’s tan.

These next few were in the men’s section but I guess could go either way:

I was told there’s some competition between John Deere and Red Tractors.  I don’t know if Red Tractor is the official name of a line of tractors or if it’s just a color war between red and green.  Either way, it explains these next couple of shirts:

Since there are no Red Tractor shirts to be found and John Deere is so heavily represented, I’m going to guess Rural King has gone green.

Don’t think mom’s weren’t going to be represented.  It is Mother’s Day after all.

…Or she might stick you in one of those hunting shirts.

I saved my favorite for last.  In honor of this brand of clothing:

Rural King proudly presents you with this:

I’m not gonna lie.  I seriously considered this one.  And the best part was this was a hoodie and not a T-shirt.  In the clothing world, hoodies are my weakness.  I guess there’s always next time.

Toad Suck Daze

Every year there is a three day celebration in my town called Toad Suck Daze.  Where did the name come from you ask?  Well the story goes like this:

The legend behind Toad Suck is that long ago, steamboats traveled the Arkansas River when the water was at the right depth. When it wasn’t, the captains and their crew tied up to wait where the Toad Suck Lock & Dam now spans the river near Conway. While they waited, they refreshed themselves at the local tavern. The dismayed folks living nearby were heard to say: “They suck on the bottle ’til they swell up like toads.” Hence, the name Toad Suck. The tavern is long gone, but the legend lives on at Toad Suck Daze.

But why they have a celebration named this in the first place, I have no idea.  An excuse for a party I guess.  And the really weird thing is that the first Toad Suck Daze was only celebrated in 1982.  So it’s not like it’s some old tradition dating so far back no one can remember why it’s still around.  Nope, only 28 years old.

It’s free admission and is for everyone except, well me.  Friday and Saturday night really belong to the Jr. high/high school kids, Saturday morning is for the kiddies to come out and race their toads and do a little face painting, Saturday afternoon and Sunday are for the *ahem* old folks and those into crafts, and the music every year is heavily influenced by the country genre.  Of which I’m not a big fan.  Plus every year without fail, it rains Toad Suck Daze weekend.  Needless to say I haven’t been since high school.

As a matter of fact, the weather was pretty severe this year.  I’m sure you’ve heard of all the tornadoes that swept through the state that flattened some towns and took the lives of a few people.  I was in Illinois for the weekend and happily missed out on all the excitement.

Though I missed the actual Toad Suck Daze celebration, all the preschool kids brought toads from home to race at school Thursday morning.  Talk about chaos.  When I showed up kids were all in a frenzy wanting to show everyone their toads.  Already two had either jumped out of an open box or had been taken out and then dropped, and were on the loose under the couch.

The madness continued outside as we began to race.  Some kids wanted to race but wouldn’t hold the toads, some kids wouldn’t put the toads down when they were finished racing, and all of the toads took every opportunity for freedom as they all scattered in different directions when placed on the starting line.  Imagine 17 preschool kids and 10 toads in an area that looked to be about 5 ft. squared.  There was a moment where a toad was actually dropped by one of the kids on the head of another.  I swear it couldn’t have been scripted better for a Little Rascals movie.  Talk about insanity.  But hilarious at the same time.

Maybe next year I’ll attend and blog first hand about what I see.  Maybe even include some pictures.  Maybe, just maybe, there’s something for me there after all.

A Community Within A Community

One morning we took a little drive out to a local Amish community because I guess they usually have really good deals in their grocery stores.  Actually I’ve never visited an Amish community and that’s the real reason we headed out there.  The deals at the stores were just a cover up.  Though I’m not sure who I was trying to use the cover up on.  Myself I guess.  Anyway, I wanted to take pictures because I knew there would be some cool images I’d want to remember but when I got there I just felt like some big creep invading their privacy.  So most of these pictures (the ones of actual people) are courtesy of my sister who was better at getting the pictures without drawing attention.

First of all, it was really cold.  And windy.  Windy and cold, and I understand they don’t use modern technology like electricity but there’s no way I’d want to put these on when they finished drying.  Partly because I don’t think they could get fully dry in this kind of weather, especially the blue jeans.  I’d definitely want to put them next to a fire first.  But I’m a pansy like that.

We  get to the store and see this:

And when you look closer, just a little further down you see this:

Not something you see everyday.  Can you imagine the poor kid that works at the store thinking his job would just be to bag groceries and help carry them out for little old ladies.  Then he finds out he also has to be the horse pooper scooper?  Tough break kid.

Inside the store we found some niffty little gems:

You may not be able to see the writing very well but we have green bean crisps, squash chips, purple sweet potato chips, and okra chips.  Hmm, sounds yummy.  I’m not understanding why the green bean bag costs $7.31.  I thought green beans were pretty common everywhere and would be the cheapest out of the four.  Guess not.  Well, I guess I now know I’d lose if I ever was a contestant on the Amish version of the Price is Right.  My little mountain climber wouldn’t have a prayer.

If dried vegetables aren’t your thing, check out their gummy selection.  Missed breakfast?  No problem, have some fried eggs:

Not sure your teeth are up for the challenge?  Try some of theirs:

I don’t know what to say about the chicken feet there on the right.  I would like to know why the teeth are only $.88 while the others are closer to the $2 mark.

Thirsty?  Try this line of soda and don’t worry, it’s good for you:

Here are some of the locals:

A few days later my sister and I were in Staples and were standing by an Amish couple who was returning a fax machine/scanner.  I kid you not.  Maybe they were part of a less strict group?  I don’t know but not something you see every day.

Heading out we were behind this guy:

I thought this was a pretty cool shot showing the contrast in lifestyles between the Amish and others in the community.  As we got closer I noticed this:

The buggies have license plates and side mirrors.  The side mirrors make total sense but the license plates make me scratch my head.  I don’t know why exactly.  I guess I just assume, maybe ignorantly, that they don’t get in accidents very often.  I mean it’s a buggy for crying out loud.  It’s not like it comes out of nowhere going 70 mph. *shoulder shrug*

There’s more to come from my little trip to Charleston.  Phew, I know, no doubt you’re all on the edge of your seats.

Dosado and Promenade

While listening to the radio this morning I learned that square dancing is the state song for 19 US states.  Can you believe that??  19!!  Maybe I should have paid more attention in Mrs. Henderson’s music class when I was in elementary school.   So in honor of that fun fact here’s a little clip for your viewing pleasure:

Dulce = Candy…But Not Always

                                       

Yesterday I was sitting in our break room enjoying my lunch and reading a book when a fellow co-worker and his sister came in to eat. This co-worker is from Mexico and since I lived both there and in Guatemala we’ve had many conversations comparing life in the US vs. there. Before you go thinking these conversations had to do with politics, rights, or other equally important things – they don’t. They’re usually centered around insignificant observations about grocery stores, driving, or food. And not just any type of food but specifically: candy.

I love candy. I eat entirely way too much of it. I didn’t realize how good we had it until I moved to Mexico and tried some of their chocolate and about gagged. Unless I was willing to fork out some good money for basic chocolate, like a Snickers bar, I pretty much stayed away from it all together for the 4 months I lived there. Same thing in Guatemala. I am going to interject here that there were some types of candy that I loved and wish they sold here in the States but as for chocolate it was a no go.

So back to lunch yesterday. His sister offered me a piece of her favorite candy from Mexico that her mother – in- law had brought over while visiting. Since I don’t normally turn candy down, I took it. She told me that it was like a piece of caramel with a few nuts in it. I like caramel. And I like nuts. That was NOT, I repeat, NOT what it tasted like at all!

I took a bite and immediately realized I was in trouble. It had a gritty, you could taste the crunchy sugar grains texture mixed with something that made it soft and a little moist. But not in the soft tafy kind of way but in the I think this piece of candy is old and is beginning to enter the crumble stage but isn’t quite there yet. My tongue’s first reaction was to eject this morsel immediately and go brush my teeth or at the very least rinse out my mouth with water. But I couldn’t do either because both of them were still in the room and I really didn’t want to offend her. So I sat there with this “candy” stuck to the roof of my mouth because I couldn’t bring myself to swallow. And I waited. After a few minutes they finished and left. Meanwhile, my mouth had automatically been salivating (and not in a good way) because the candy was still in it and then some of the saliva managed to trickle down my throat. It was at that point I started to gag. I made a bee line for the napkins and disposed of all evidence. I promptly downed my water bottle and found a piece of chocolate in my bag.

Later in the afternoon, I was talking to this co-worker and he asked me if I had liked the candy his sister had given me. I don’t always think honesty is necessarily the best policy – sometimes it’s kindness. But since he and I are pretty good friends I had tell him that it was awful…and to please not tell his sister that I had spit it out. He just laughed, knowing that I wouldn’t like it….then he offered me another.

*Yes that’s me in the picture up top.  I started the candy addiction early and by the looks of it, I’m about to OD at any moment!!