Sunday, 19 August 2012

Funny looking chickens

This week in roaring Charlottetown I joined in the celebration of Old Home Week. It is a time where we celebrate the Island and all the people, establishments, and history that make the Island such a unique and magical place to live. I have been looking forward to this week all summer long actually. It has been ages since I have been on a ferris wheel or had sinfully fluffy and delicious cotton candy fill my mouth. My ears have been aching for carnival music, crowds of giddy half whit teenagers screaming on rides, and the bright clink and clang of games. I even miss being badgered by carnies trying to lure you to their games so you can win a stuffed animal. Oh the carnival, dripping with August sunshine, reeking of sticky cotton candy and cheese dogs, and intoxicated with enough teenage summer love romance to write a novel. 

I went to the carnival on a delicious Monday evening with my gal pal Lindsay, you may remember her from the jelly fish poking episode. We gingerly strolled up to the carnival gates paid our shiny dime to get in and plunged into the magical world of colours, lights, sounds, and fragrances. We walked the grounds several times breathing in the thickness of it all. Several carnies shouted sweet nothings at Lindsay and I like, “Hey pretty ladies, come play, winner every time!” or “Hey princess! Come here gorgeous! Want to play? Big prizes every time!” or my personal favourite, “Hey hot dog, come here!” Lindsay was eating a hot dog at the time. One carnie badgered and lured us in with the promise of a free throw in his dart game. We each got a chance to send a dart whistling through the air to pop a balloon. After our throws he then laid out how the game works and the price. But Lindsay and I only had sights for the ferris wheel and cotton candy and we wanted to save our pennies for such treasures. Defused and frustrated he told us to scram, and we did. It was no sweat off our back he didn’t need to get all feisty at us. 

Lindsay and I sought refuge in the showing pens and meandered through the rows of cows, sheep, turkeys, geese, pigs, and exceptionally fluffy chickens. These animals looked cleaner than me and probably smelled better to. I have never seen so many well groomed farm animals in my life, several of the chickens had blue ribbons tied on their cages and they seemed to know they were a prized chicken as they strutted around their cages. 

As the sun melted into the perfect hue of tangerine and a sky full of thick thunder clouds began to accumulate over the east side of the Island, Lindsay and I took our turn on the ferris wheel. We climbed into the precarious cage and were wheeled up to the sky and back again. Around and around we went, each time we crested the wheel our breath was stolen by the gorgeous landscape below us. We could see the harbour, Hillsborough bridge, the Basilica, all of the fair grounds, and lush trees. The air was sweeter up there at the top of the ferris wheel. The air was sweet with the tingly scents of evening air, the world slowly shutting its eyes, the flowers getting in one last exhale before nodding off to bed, and that ever constant ribbon of ocean fragrance telling time. 

After the ferris wheel groaned to a stop and the gentlemanly carnies assisted Lindsay and I off we made a stop at the food stand and each bought a cotton candy. Oh cotton candy, what a curious candy you are. Light and fluffy like so many clouds at sunset I have seen and yet with flavour and sweetness of such density you make my lips pucker. We walked home under the glow of the setting sun and watched with great anticipation the eastern storm clouds gathering more and more steam. To our disappointment thunder and lightning did not grace Charlottetown, I suppose it is for the best though, the ferris wheel would be a most unfortunate lightning rod, especially if it was full of passengers. 

The following evening my friend Claudia invited me out to a baseball game. Her husband and son play on an “old boys” league and I spent another particularly gorgeous August evening out in the sweet summer air inhaling as much as my lungs could hold. I’ve heard it said that baseball is the best metaphor for life. I didn’t really pick up on that truth while sitting on the bleachers getting eaten by bugs whilst watching a smash up of 20 to 50 year old men run around. But if I were to draw out some nugget of wisdom it would be this: sometimes you have to wait a long time before someone else hits a home run and you can cross the plate. I hope that stirs up something deep and enlightening in your life, in all honesty I’m just throwing some words down and hoping they have enough charm to make you pause. 

After a long work day on Thursday Claudia and I again escaped into the depths of evening and spent an hour or so at the beach. Thick rain clouds threatened to spill on us and as we splashed and floated in the ocean I could feel the ocean growing angry with anticipation of a storm. The current rushed around my feet, waves heaved their chests in thick sighs, and white caps crashed noisily into the shore. As we sat on the beach drying off I suddenly felt a kiss of rain on my cheek, and then another and then another, and suddenly Claudia and I were caught in a delicious fresh rain. We dashed to the car quickly and avoided getting soaked. 

On Friday morning while gazing out my window and sipping my morning coffee I saw a curious sight. A sporadic exodus of couples, young families, elderly loves, and the odd bachelor walk down the sidewalk carrying lawn chairs. It dawned on me that the Old Home Week parade was about to start and who doesn’t like a good parade? I rushed out the door with my camera in hand and joined the masses of people lining University, Grafton, and Water street. I hadn’t been there five minutes when someone shouted, “Here they come!” 

A 1950’s police cruiser rolled down the street in sleek style followed by tractors, fire engines, carriages, marching bands, Highland pipers, baton twirlers, hockey players, and a three story high Larry the Cucumber from Veggie Tales! It was a most impressive sight that wove its way through Charlottetown for 2 hours. While the parade was colourful, inventive, and energetic the real site to see was the hoards of people that came. I have never seen Charlottetown so thick with onlookers. If you didn’t bring a lawn chair you were subject to stand unless you were nimble enough to climb up the side of the Scotia Bank and take a seat on the window ledge as one pair of teenagers did. It’s true what they say that everyone and their dog comes out for the Old Home Week Parade. It was a wonderful parade and after the hullaballoo was over I went home and took refuge from the crowds and heat in my apartment with a generous scoop of ice cream. 

I learned a lot this week. I learned that sometimes life is like a baseball game in that there is a lot of standing and waiting for a good hit, but in the end we all want to cross home plate. I learned that ferris wheels are best enjoyed in the month of August, and that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, or hold you are everyone loves a parade.  

The fair grounds.  

A sand castle artist making a master piece out of our red soil. 

A really fluffy chicken!

Another odd looking farm fowl with fluffy feet. 

The horse race getting warmed up. 

The ferris wheel!!

Lindsay and I and our cotton candy!

Look at all the people!!

An old fire engine

Highland piping bands. 


Milk and cream truck, my favourite truck!

Here comes Bob the Tomato of Veggie Tales.

And here's Larry. Look at how tall Larry is!!

Baby Smurf coming down the street. 

Baby Smurf had an issue making the corner, he almost fell over and ended up dragging a piece of the gate with him.

Snazzy looking car. 

A marching band!

A truck carrying apples. 

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