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Sunday, November 6, 2011


Every year Francesca and I truck up to Lake Wales, Florida, for their Pioneer Days Festival. What fun it is hanging out with folks pretending to be living in the past.

We met Gerald, a man who spent the weekend carving scrub brushes. He showed us how he made them from cabbage palm tree trunks. We never knew palm tree trunks could be so useful. We bought several and they work great.

This older woman bought her 93-year-old
mother with her. The retired secretary/truck driver said they enjoyed living in their canvas tent on the lakeside park's grounds. It was as close as "Occupy Lake Wales" as this town will ever get (and they play-acting). The two diced vegetables as we talked and added to a big pot. An hour later it was pulled off the fire and offered to the public.


The New Harvest Worship Center was doling out hot kidney beans with cornbread. Ladies in long blue dresses ladled porridge from a steaming Igloo ice chest. The hot beans were delicious, healthy, and free but the boys selling kettle corn in the next booth were doing much more business. Sometimes you get what you don't pay for.

Every forty-five minutes you could go on a hay-wagon architectural tour of the town. As Earl's red tractor pulled

past houses of various vintage, sand hill cranes pecked bugs in the yards.

As we chugged along at bicycle speed I thought, "This is so cool. The City of Miami would never allow a hay wagon tour of anything".

After we returned to the park, Earl's International Harvester was joined by twenty others for the noon-time Tractor Parade. Proud farmers wheeled down the the festival's skinny road sometimes just a foot from the toes of the people watching.

The Highlander Band stepped lively behind them. They marched past an old man in coveralls. The fellow was spending the weekend happily surrounded by the small sputtering engines that powered the 1920's. With a Coke in one hand and chips in the other,

he enjoyed the beautiful weekend in his own kind of paradise.

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