Monday, October 04, 2004
Happy Monday. This is what Main Street in Clarion looked like on Friday. The picture doesn’t do it justice. Read on, my friends…
The bad thing about having a big weekend is that it eventually has to end. Then it’s back to the same old routine of working, eating, and sleeping and trying to recover. We had a blast in Clarion, of course. There is just no way to describe the size and scope of the Autumn Leaf Festival. Clarion is a town of about 6,000 people, which doesn’t include the university population, which adds probably about another 6 to 7,000 give or take when school is in session. When it’s time for ALF, the population goes up to 100,000 or more. So for one weekend out of the year, the town goes from a tiny little college town to a cultural mecca of locals, students, parents, alumni, artisans, musicians, carnies, and many others. Needless to say, when it’s all over, there is a big mess to clean up. I’ve been participating in this little shindig in one way or another for the past 15 years. I was at my first ALF when I was 12 or 13. I think I’ve only ever missed one year since then.
I sort of miss living there. It’s only been over a year since I moved back home. There is very little opportunity there. If you live in Clarion, you probably work at the university, the glass plant, the fiber board plant, the hospital, or Wal-Mart. The coolest thing about being there was seeing all the Kerry supporters. In my town, which is a mere 50 miles away, most yards are littered with Bush signs. Occasionally you’ll see a Kerry sign in somebody’s yard, but then you’ll see 5 Bush signs. In Clarion it was the opposite. During the parade, a float for Republicans of Clarion County went by, and people actually booed. A guy standing next to me was yelling, "We can’t take 4 more years!" When the Democrat float went by, people cheered. It was great, and I felt like I was home. It’s nice to fit in once in a while. Of course I was in a liberal college / blue collar working class town, a big difference from where I am now.
But the weekend was fun, and enlightening. I watched the debate on Thursday, and I thought Bush did horrible. Same empty promises, stuff we’ve all heard dozens of times. I tried to be objective, but my dad was yelling too much about how he’s ruined our country, blah, blah, blah. I was happy to see how composed Kerry was, and how he never said um, or uh, like W did. On Friday my ma and my girlfriends went downtown for the crafter day, and we visited the Democratic Headquarters, which was swarming with people. I got some pretty cool buttons, my favorite being "Teresa Heinz-Kerry for First Lady" inside the Heinz ketchup logo. Saturday was the parade, which was somewhat bland compared to previous years, so I watched most of it out of the window of the Tavern, one of three bars on Main Street. We were all pretty buzzed by the time the parade was over at 2, so we hit the next bar, stayed for a few hours, and decided we’d better eat something before going to the party that we were invited to at my friend Todd’s house. After that, I was exhausted, having been drunk and then sobered up. So I pretty much sat like a lump at the party and couldn’t drink again until we got back to my camp. I got my second wind and was up until 4 in the morning. What a champ I am.
So now it feels like the day after Christmas. I’m off today, thank goodness, so I’m going to get out my Halloween decorations. I’ll leave you with a quote on from my friend Bill, who is on tour with a theater group and was in Mobile, Alabama this weekend, unable to celebrate ALF with us. He called us on Saturday night and talked to all of us for a couple hours while drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels.
Bill on being in the South:
The devastation around here from the hurricane is tremendous in size and scope. Seeing all the damage first hand is incredible. You just can't imagine the seriousness of all the destruction caused by Mother Nature until you see it. What a terrible year for weather, droughts in the west, hurricanes and tornados in the south, and flooding in the north, and if that wasn't enough, a volcano is on the verge of erupting. If Bush gets reelected look for the earth to open up and swallow the USA. Armageddon is upon us, run away.