It was raining--Not just a little bit of rain, but the kind of rain that keeps on coming, not in gallons, but in mists and light drops, in quick pours that demand scurries to cover and allow puddles to assert themselves, in short blows and dollops on shoulders and cheeks that make us shiver.
This is the kind of day for frogs and I was in a froggy mood having just watched an episode of Untamed and Uncut where one frog, clenched in the extended jaw of a garter was being slowly gulleted by the snake when another frog, apparently of heroic intent, pounced on the now monstrous double head, rescuing his amphibious friend. It is not easy being green. But today, with no snakes in sight, frogs were happy in Leiper's Creek valley.
And the rest of us were kicking back too, for this was the day of the annual fish fry at Bethel Community Center. Proceeds for the volunteer fire department seemed a secondary issue on a day like today. No fires beyond the coals under the giant fryer could ignite on this drizzly day. As you well know, spirits in Bethel Community just don't get dampened by a rainy forecast and apart from the specially constructed clear plastic walls being raised by the roadies of the Homer Dever Band, all went as planned.
The band had reason to be concerned about the dampness, for the instruments of pickin' can swell. Plus it had been whispered that a celebrity of "some notoriety" might make a guest appearance. You know all about such appearances of course, since your establishment casually caters to the likes of Judds, Urbans, and Williams.
So while we grinned and the other band, Highland Rim, picked, Homer Dever t-shirted men ceremoniously unfolded tarps and snagged grommits onto previously prepared hooks. The ladder was somewhat unstable. We used to call that "rickety" when I lived in central Pennsylvania. Here, we just say, "Dat dere got a wobble to it, don't it." Rather than finding a different step stool, a sturdy, four by four gentleman stood alongside the Dever boys. They steadied themselves with a hand on his balding head whenever the ladder tottered.Meanwhile, children flowed in and out of the pavilion, oblivious to all but the most intransigent expressions of meteorologic discourse. Oh, Nett. Remember the days when play was all and getting wet was just one of many dressings for a day, presenting not obstacles but adventures and mysteries. Faces upturned we investigated drops in tactile pleasure, gauging possibilities. This afternoon, little girls of Santa Fe were standing on picnic benches conscious of nothing but glory, I think, with their faces glowing after a quick dash through a sloshy set of indentations dug, throw by throw, on drier days by gnarly men with horse shoes.
I saw that Nett's Country Store and Deli participated in the other option of the affair, the silent auction. Now, a regular auction exerts no power over me. I can sit as stone while a rackety-rack auctioneer chants,
Impassively, I think, "No dollar for you!" But a table silently sitting there offering an array of wares from cookie jars to country hams? Now that has me at hello. So my daughter and I walked about, low balling bids on necessities such as packs of Ivermectin wormer for my horses, 50 lbs. of high quality dog food, hand crocheted afgans, and a weed whacker with a 32 cc engine that can swing a 2.75 mm line, when I came upon your offerings. Perfect, I thought, and it's all for the benefit of the fire department. Dinner for two? Sunday buffet for the family? Supper on karaoke night? Which should I choose? On which line should I stake my claim, a solid bid that wouldn't be challenged by locals? Then, tucked behind the offering for a pedicure I saw the auction I would fight for. This is the page I would come back to over and again while listening to bands and munching on fried fish. This was the auction offering for which I would contend.
"l dollar bid, now 2,
now 2, will ya give me 2?
2 dollar bid, now 3,
now 3, will ya give me 3?
3 dollar bid, now 4,
now 4, will ya give me 4?"
Dinner for One
Friday Night Only
(Starting bid: $5.00)
See you very soon.