Friday, December 01, 2006

It's all about the Bells

Fall Festivals have always had a special appeal for me. The one in my small town growing up were all about getting back to school and wearing all those new autumn clothes that were too warm in the beginning of September to wear. By the time the fall festival rolled around there was a crispness to the air and apples everywhere and all those foods that only get made by the ladies of the church or D.A.R. for the fund raiser of the year. Silly carnival rides and animals getting the coveted blue ribbon first prize before that trip back home in the cattle truck and the family piled into the cab up front and back. It was just a lot of fun. It's not so different here, although the animals usually arrive under their own steam with the family either on foot or some on horses and everyone gathering around admiring their cows or their neighbors herd of sheep or goats. Then there are the stands of fruit, veg, crafts , or vendors selling everything you need to mend your harnesses or make your own wine. The women folk wander off to have a look round all the market vendors that have arrived on a day different from their regular day and, Mio Dio, they're staying open past 12:30, the magical witching hour when everyone shuts down and goes home to have a proper meal and siesta. Not on festival day. The stands stay open although everyone is in the back having a bite to eat or sometimes the family brings along a fold up table and chairs complete with real cloth tablecloth and proper food. The farmers take their animals home for lunch after the awarding of the biggest and best bell to the honored cow, goat or sheep. There is quite the cacophony of bells, whistles, maaing and mooing as the herd and entourage of family in cars, on foot or the beloved "vespa" to make the trek home and enjoy a bit of respite after a morning enjoyed visiting or gossiping with your neighbors. Seems like a grand idea to me.

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