Cause she’s got the text messages to prove it…
The annual Bushwhacker Days in Nevada, MO., wrapped up after presenting many fun, strange and quationable sites and sounds. Of course, I soaked it ALL in from the comfort of my favotite foldable lawncahir. It’s amazing to me how regardless of the weather–whether it be torrential rains or the heat indices teasing 105 degrees–people show up to this annual event. The annual event for me includes parking my truck at Erin’s house and packing in our lawn chairs and of course a 44 oz. drink of some sort–usually from Sonic–a few hours prior to the evening festivities.
Once we’ve staked out our spots, it’s time to watch people…and believe me, there are plenty of people to be seen (or more accurately, those who you can’t help but notice)! Sights of tube tops, shorty rompers, shoeless kids (and adults), tattoos on very interesting–yet always very visible– body parts, funnel cakes, verbal assaults, and rebel flags abound the Nevada square. Not to mention my students either holding hands with their summer flings while giving me a “you can’t give me a detention because I’m not in school while holding this person’s hand” wave or those who see me and can’t quite place me, because after all, it’s been two whole weeks since school’s let out.
The nightly concerts range from local church groups singing their praise and worship numbers, Colgate Country Showdown participants and of course, the ever popular–at least to me–the local legends night. Characters including a faux feathered individual who’s stage name is Indian Bob–who always tries to hawk his cassette tapes to his “adoring fans”– to Dan Devine–who (eventhough I always mumble when he takes the stage, I secretly always hope he’s always there) sings some sort of ode to the Vernon County Courthouse without fail. I can’t help but giggle.
This year I was also privy to witnessing a very intense “conversation” between a rather voluptuous purple tank topped woman and a man who reminded me of Jack Sprat. The woman walked herself up to this fine, upstanding tattoo clad citizen and started waving her head like she was getting ready for a cock fight. Aside from the head wagging, she also used her handheld fan–surely provided by some political candidate–in a very animated manner. Attention political candidate: I’m DEFINITELY voting for you now because of this woman’s endorsement. In fact, who would vote against this woman’s candidate?? Not me!! As the local police on bike patrol rode right past this attention grabbing “conversation”, Erin and I try to figure out what it’s all about. Using our imaginations, we figure it’s a love triangle. As she’s walking away from this man–who we are assuming (using our imaginations, but maybe not) is surrounded by his wife and children, a little boy mumbles something loud enough for purple tank top lady to hear. She rounds herself around while still endorsing her political candidate and announces “And I’ve got the text messages to prove it!!” I’m not arguing with the woman! Just please get out of the front row so I can enjoy the other show on the stage!
Saturday always starts bright and early as I attempt to run a 5k at 7am. But let’s be honest here, running becomes more of jogging very quickly when you’ve gorged yourself full of Bushwhacker food the night before. For me, this year’s menu included pigging out on a loaded baked potato that is (literally) to die for–especially because of all the butter, nacho cheese and other artery blocking ingredients piled high atop this heavenly mound of goodness, two scoops of slow churned “for real” Mennonite ice cream, and of course a (shared mind you) Bushwhacker funnel cake. So when the race starts I knew what I had to do. Ignore the “real” athletes who probably (and more responsibly than me) noshed on some carrots the night before and book it as the race director yells “Go!” Instead, I go at it slow, trying to run the race in less than 40 minutes, making sure to stay hydrated at all water locations–because it is already devilishly humid out–and aim not to throw up and/or pass out.
During multiple legs of the race I feel a little concerned when the EMT guys in an all-terrain vehicle drive back and forth past me (I’m sure their taking note of my running form and surely not taking bets on who is going to need medical attention first). Regardless, I successfully complete all goals and even medal in the event. Not bad for a 30 year old who’s placed in the 16-30 age category (seriously?!?).
After running home to take a cold shower, I make the second pilgrimage of the morning back to the square to help man the FBC face painting booth. It’s one more opportunity to people watch as I show kids (of all ages. Oh, how I love Helen Emery. She’s such a good sport!) pictures of potential artwork that could be brushed on their faces. My favorite was the Pentecostal kids wheeling around a Radio Flyer selling bottled water that’s advertised as”Holy Water”. What a bargain for only a buck!
After watching the shoot-out on the square–that illustrates the northern aggression (their words, not mine. I’m a Yankee–but I don’t advertise that fact during this week), I hone in on my annual Bushwhacker corn dog. After downing my corn dog, I take a lap around the square. On the west end the square the annual cutie contest is taking place. Parents strip their kids down to their diapers or bikinis and parade them around a stage in front of spectators–I’m sure including sex offenders– as a panel of judges determine which babies and toddlers are cute enough to win a medal. It’s a great thing to put on a resume’.
Bushwhacker Days is like that crazy great-aunt who always does your family name proud. You try to avoid her when you see her at the supermarket or blatantly deny your relation throughout the year, but let’s face it, you always send her a birthday card and you always have her over for Christmas dinner. And that’s why I’ve already penciled in Bushwhacker Days into my calendar for next year!