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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Picken In the Pines

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Flagstaff: Fort Tuthill Amphitheater

4th Annual Picken in the Pines Festival

Sitting in a booth as a volunteer for St Mary’s food bank having no clue what to do. How did I come to be here you may ask? Maria, the food bank volunteer coordinator announced at the Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors meeting that she needed people to help at the festival booth. Since I was sitting next to her at the meeting and there were no other takers the rest is history as they say. Arriving promptly at 9:30am as told I find the canopy at half mast not other volunteers seem to be present.

After raising the canopy the booth is now open for business. There is a five gallon water jug, with tickets in it, hiding behind the table. After placing in on the table two people walk up and want to enter the drawing. O.K. here are the raffle tickets how many do you want to fill out. “We’ll take the two for $5.00” says he. Oh! There is a charge for the tickets? Yep there it is on the front of the jug. So he hands me a $10.00 bill which requires change which by dumb luck I happen to have. After writing for about an hour Maria arrives and the day gets better. After a bit her boss Eric arrives and we have a nice chat.

The music has been going on for about an hour people have been filing in filling the area by the stage that has a cover over it. Along with the people clouds have begun to float by becoming thicker and grayer. The sun keeps us warm until it is swallowed by the clouds turning it cooler. We have coffee to keep our hands warm, tap our feet to the music to keep them warm. During a walk about the grounds a fellow says to me “Think It’s going to rain?” “Seems like it’s trying real hard to do that” is my answer. He laughs then a few steps later a few drops fall followed by big drops, the hail, big hail, lots of hail.

I arrive back at the booth the dark green grass now covered with white hail. Water runs off the building around us causing puddles to form with floating hail in them. Most of the crowed has attempted to get under the covered part of the stage area. Others seek out shelter under vender canopies like ours. As the thunder rolls through the trees along with lighting strikes we can hardly hear the music. The announcer has to remind some spectators not to stand under the trees. The musicians play on as the rain lets up but, the clouds take a long time releasing the sun.

The sun returns along with its warmth. Sitting in the sun I watch people attempt to avoid walking in the puddles. It seems funny to me that sometime today they may have stood in a shower not avoiding the water at all. Now it seems to some to be avoided at any cost as if it contains some hidden danger. Some however just splash through it some seems to actually enjoy getting their feet wet especially the children. Ooops I fell in the puddle Mom really I did with a sly grin on their face. I watch Marie with a group out on the lawn playing Hakie-Sackie as she sways to the music. All is good until the sun again closes over the sun with what seems like no intention to release it again today.

Having ridden my bike here it seems a good time to head for home as the distant thunder begins to rumble. I’m thankful for my GoLite rain jacket and oil sealed hat which have kept me dry and somewhat warm. As the rain begins to fall again I’m safe inside my house. Tomorrow I’ll ride again to the fair grounds for the third day of the festival hoping that the sun, music and friendship will be warm.

Sunday, September 19, 2009

Flagstaff: County Fair Grounds

Arrived before everyone else and set up the booth and immediately began selling raffle tickets. The sun is out the sky is blue with a few drifting white clouds. There is a small crowed when the first group takes the stage. They sing several hymns which are appropriate for a Sunday morning. The bands begin to play the crowed begins to flow in. Several young women appear each carrying about 10 Hula Hoops of assorted colors and sizes. Shortly after the grass hill in from of the booth is filled with children of all ages attempting to swing the things on their hips.

There is much laughter and when the young children can’t get them to swirl around their hips they chase after them as they roll down the hill. I see an friend from long ago and wave. Deanna is a wonderfully sweet person who seems to be immune to aging. She still has the same brilliant smile youthful face as when I worked with her twelve years ago. There are several people here today that I have interacted with during my time here in Flagstaff. We wave or chat depending on the moment.

Eric the head of the food back arrives with the “bank” so I can make change then is off on errands. He tells me there are tags in the “bank” for volunteers who have not shown. If there is someone I can call they can get in for free. I call a few friends but they are not home or involved in home projects. More tickets are sold more bands play, people sway and tap their feet to the music. It is warm the sun is bright causing many people to come to North Country’s First Aid booth for suntan lotion. Several little ones are brought in with swollen, angry red bee bites.

The day goes by softly it is great to do something quite different from the usual and allow relaxation to over take me. Lunch is a cold draft with a braut with all the fixings in the shade. I’m almost lulled to sleep by the casual surroundings. Time come for me to head home because the dark clouds are filling the sky. The sun has been swallowed again giving way to a cool breeze which sends most of the crowed heading to their cars. It has been a soothing weekend I’ve made new friends, done something for the community and gotten a little exercise. This is a good thing!