You know, the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.” Ain’t it the truth!
The Villager took a brief hiatus on the Fourth, giving staff and media stars (That’s you, Benjamin.) a little time to set off and/or observe firecrackers and recoup after all of the frenetic activity of the SummerFest—BEST EVER—and come out swinging for the rest of the summer, which has lots of activities yet to go. I thought this was great, as I had a(also brief) report on the Annual Conference of the Methodists of East Ohio to give in church on Sunday and a duet of fireworks presentations for the Independence Day holiday(after the SummerFest fireworks on the 29th), following two separate junkets to Playhouse Square to see “Book of Mormon “ and “Guys and Dolls”. I even missed the retirement party at the PCDL. Geez, the thought of some down time seemed just fine to me.
But then I just got backed up on the opening events for July.
SummerFest was a heckuva thing…great for people-watching, eating, music of all sorts. Good causes(Think: Friends of Melana), competitions, kid-friendly activities, whatever “We are Family” opportunities you might desire. The weather was amazingly good, considering that virtually every forecast threatened rain or worse. The crowds were pretty resilient too, putting up with sprinkles and actual showers with good humor and carrying on with their enjoyment of everything on offer. The displays of body-art were quite amazing as well. Don’t look for me to get into this real soon(I probably fail to have enough wrinkle-free epidermis to make the exercise worthwhile…not that I’d choose anything elaborate, like Reuben’s “The Rape of the Sabine Women”, but I don’t see myself with a skull or rosebud. I knew a guy once who had a fly tattooed on his toe; he was a hoot at the beach). Doing a tattoo on wrinkles must be like trying to write on corduroy. The fireworks were fine, though it did seem that they were rushing a bit—to finish before the threatened rainstorms, I’ll bet.
Then it was on to the Fourth. Being the go-to person for the annual brunch gathering’s supply of nearly pure, unadulterated calories and cholesterol embodied in numerous variations of the genus sweet roll, I had to set about amassing vast quantities of pecans,almonds, walnuts, brown sugar, butter, yeast, fruit fillings and suchlike assaults on diets everywhere. Timing is the thing. Getting everything to rise on schedule, then bake in the allotted time–without bubbling over and turning the bottom of the oven in to a charred mess or remaining a sodden, unbaked glob in the center—calls for major planning and shuffling of pans. Occasionally there’s a glitch, as when, this year I was surveying the gooey panfuls of yum and thinking that the recipe didn’t seem to have produced as many rolls as usual. Took what I had out to the car and made one last check inside, only to discover two nicely-risen but totally unbaked pans of rolls atop the shelf in the bathroom( What can I say? It’s the warmest room in the house.). So I made the preliminary delivery and announced that there would be more, referencing the miracle of the wine at the wedding in Cana when Jesus turned the water into wine and the guests remonstrated with the host , saying, “Everyone serves the good wine first, then when all have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” (John 2:1-11) Actually, the real wonder is that a cat had not leaped to the top of the shelf—as she does fairly frequently—and created Armageddon right there in the shower.
Moving along then, it was the occasion of the annual Fourth of July Community Band performance in Hiram, as part of the Hiram Old Fashioned Fourth. This was begun, what, thirty-seven years ago to celebrate the nation’s Bicentennial and originally directed by Mayor Ed Rosser. Since then it’s seen a number of directors, some family traditions, some pillars of performance (Thank you, Spencers & Dreisbachs. Thank you, Mangans. Thank you, Pancosts. Thank you, last minute fill-ins. It’s all good), some rapid abandonments of the usual venue in the middle of Dean St. when the rain…and/or wind…disrupted plans. Talk about your old-fashioned holiday! They let me play the bass drum so long as there’s a REAL percussionist there who can read music and keep me from going off as the original “different drummer” and taking “The Stars and Stripes Forever” in waltz time or something. Finish the day in Newton Falls in the company of assorted Hadzinskys(They are a good sort) for fireworks aplenty.
THEN…there was a party at my house on Sunday, the 7th…birthday party…commemorating the second incarnation of the silver anniversary of a twenty-fifth birthday (He’s been thirty-nine so long that he’s nearly forgotten how old he really is. Senility’ll do that to ya.). This meant that I had to clean the inside of the house—well, maybe CLEAN is too strong a word, I got the worst stuff out of sight—just in case—God forbid—it rained, as nearly every forecast said it would, I swept. Tables went up, chairs were powerwashed(credit Bob, the Landscaper Dude), new plants appeared(Thanks, Rebecca), the lawn was mowed(Thanks, Angel), food arrived (courtesy of the birthday boy himself), a band arrived! This was a surprise; I’m sure that the neighbors were surprised, anyway. Guest arrived. Mosquitos arrived. Party Central!
So…it was a fine time—even my mother and sister came—good food, good company, good tunes. But there are still chafing dishes stacked by the door, the refrigerator is reaching overload and I have to begin looking for all of the stuff that I stashed in the basement.
Did I mention that a new kitten arrived, half-starved, on Saturday?
The saga continues.