Weather during the month of October in South Georgia is a crap shoot. Kids planning Halloween costumes have to think long and hard about that ballerina outfit that could require the amputation of frost bitten piggies if a cold front descends or that hobo outfit that will start to ferment and smell a little too authentic if the temperature digs in its heels and refuses to vacate the seventies. No, October is like a hormonal woman who blows both hot and cold depending on the hot flash or the estrogen levels in the ozone. This past Saturday I and several hundred down-home folks were the victims of her wrath at the annual Hahira Honeybee Festival.
I arrived at my sister’s house at 11:00 to pick up my niece. The sounds of the blow dryer on Mach Seven told me she wasn’t quite ready, so I sat down on the couch to wait. A few moments later Toby, frou frou dog without any teeth who thinks he’s a person and you’re mistaken in the matter, placed himself at my feet and performed a lively demonstration of his martial arts capabilities on an unsuspecting polyester bone. He danced and growled, clamped down on the bone and shook his head, stopping at intervals to gauge my level of admiration for his skills. One thing was for certain: this house was safe against any organized assaults orchestrated by stuffed bunnies, and any human attempting to burglarize the place had better wear his thick socks unless he just prefers saliva-saturated footwear. I left the Chuck Norris of canines on the carpet and decided to plug in my phone and iPad to let them do their commingling in the atmosphere while we were gone. Little did I know what a long day it would be. Callie emerged from the bathroom amidst billows of steam, and we hit the road.
Parking was ridiculous, and after a couple of horn skirmishes with rednecks in a four wheel drive pickup truck who couldn’t understand my refusal to roll over curbs or fling my Corolla into oncoming traffic, we ended up almost a mile out from the first vendor. We arrived to discover that our plan of touring the streets a couple of hours before the parade began was blown to bits by misinformation about the start time. Instead of meandering along the streets at an amiable pace, we were barely seventeen feet ahead of the first float, and as soon as the good people riding on the State Farm trailer bed started throwing fistfuls of candy at the crowd, we barely made it to the sidewalk before throngs of children suffering from sugar-induced madness started charging the pavement. Watching those little bodies scrambling for Tootsie Rolls and throwing elbows to pulverize a fellow kindergartener trying to horn in on the Laffy Taffy piece by the curb gave me visions of Black Friday with those same faces on adult bodies lined up outside a Walmart, noses pressed against automatic doors and an employee praying to God on the other side. Funny how the parents telling little Jimmy not to hip-check little Daisy for a Jolly Rancher might be the very ones ready to sucker punch you in the groin over a $1.79 towel in the housewares section in order to bring Christmas cheer to their families. Context is everything. We disappeared into the crowd as the floats crawled by.
© 2012 – Traci Carver