TBT: Soda City Market

Earlier this week my little town of Lamar observed National Night Out, and the local neighborhood watch put together an organic, decentralized street festival to celebrate.  Regular readers know I am an avid fan of festivals, especially this time of year, and I look forward to visiting them—the weirder, the better.

With the proximity to National Night Out and the excitement of festival season in the air, I thought I’d dedicate this week’s TBT to a post about a much larger weekly festival, the so-called “Soda City Market.”  It’s been months since I attended, but it still holds a fond spot in my heart (and my stomach).

Here’s hoping that more of these open-aired autumnal festivals make a comeback this year.  After the long drought of The Age of The Virus, we could all use some fun.

With that, here is “Soda City Market“:

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National Night Out in Lamar

Last night the Lamar Neighborhood Watch organized an observation of National Night Out, an evening dedicated to supporting law enforcement and encouraging strong community building.  Most communities observe National Night Out in August, but Texas and other States observe it on the first Tuesday in October, when the weather is a good bit cooler.  August in the South is rarely a good time to host outdoor events.

My walking buddy neighbor helped organize the event, but he took a unique approach to it:  rather than having one person or a committee coordinating all of the participants, he invited residents to host whatever bit of entertainment and fun they could muster.  The result was a small but truly grassroots street festival.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Festivals in The Age of The Virus

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Just when we thought life was returning to normal—or, perhaps, when we thought life was being allowed to return to normal—a wacky new variant of The Virus has reared its viral head.  We’re told it’s hyper-contagious, though the fact that it’s even milder than the original recipe is seldom mentioned.  Just as New Coke wasn’t as good as Coca-Cola Classic, so the Delta Variant is a poor imitation of The Wuhan Original.

Well, the sequel is never as good as the original.  Unfortunately, our public health overlords at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention don’t see it that way.  They and their lackeys in the media are going full-scale alarmist, now recommending even vaccinated individuals to wear masks.

But, wait, didn’t The Vaccine purchase our freedom from masks?  Aren’t masks of dubious effectiveness, anyway?  Well, never mind.  The Cult of COVID holds sway among our ruling class, and they’re never wrong, and certainly never the architects of unmitigated disasters.  Let’s all chant the necessary rites—“Two Weeks to Flatten the Curve!”—“Socially Distance!”—“Wear a Mask!”—and surely St. Fauci will make the necessary sacrifices of civil liberties to appease the angry god COVID.

Among the many casualties of our adherence to this death cult is the many public events, those places where we used to gather to celebrate our shared history, heritage, and culture, and simply have some fun.  As the weather slowly hints towards crisp autumnality, it’s worth considering the fate of our beloved festivals.

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TBT: Gig Day III: Spooktacular

Tonight is the Spring Concert at my little private school, an event that The Virus denied us in 2020, and which my illness earlier this week seemed to threaten.  Indeed, it’s the first true concert the students have given since the ignominious Christmas Concert 2019, which veterans of my class have dubbed “Corporate Christmas” for reasons I cannot elaborate upon here.

In the spirit of live music, I thought I’d look back this week at a post about the first Spooktacular, before the epic front porch Spooktacular II.  This inaugural Spooktacular was back during The Before Times, in The Long, Long Ago, when coffee shops still would let me gyrate behind a keyboard for tips on Halloween.

The show ended up being a huge success, and inspired the at-home, front-porch sequel in October 2020.  I’m currently planning a springtime front porch concert for Friday, 28 May 2021, but I’ve gotsta get through tonight first.

With that, here is 2019’s “Gig Day III: Spooktacular“:

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Sick Day

This past weekend I was sick with a low-grade fever, a cough, and some mild chest congestion.  I got home from work Friday and sat in a chair in my mudroom for about two hours without moving, thinking I was just worn out after a long week of work.

I spent most of Saturday and Sunday sleeping, and finally began feeling some relief Sunday evening.  I took Monday off, as my temperature was around 101.4 Sunday evening.

That doesn’t make for exciting reading, but every time I am sick, it reminds me of how thankful I am for the vast majority of days I am well.  God and genetics blessed me with a very hardy constitution, so I get sick a.) infrequently and b.) mildly.  Rarely—about once every five-to-ten years—I get very sick for a spell of a week or two, such as last summer’s bout of Maybe-The-Virus and The Great Christmas Flu of 2014.

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Groundhog Day

Today is Groundhog Day in the United States, one of those throwaway observations that gets some cute stories in the news about a rodent spotting its shadow and a handful of opportunistic sales events sandwiched in between MLK Day and Presidents’ Day.  It’s ubiquitous enough to make it into the papers and the home page of your preferred search engine, but not significant enough to get a day off work.

I primarily remember Groundhog Day as a career-shadowing day for high school students.  When I was in high school, I spent one “Groundhog Shadowing Day,” as the administration called it, shadowing a college history professor at the University of South Carolina-Aiken.  I remember being overawed by the specificity of the historical research papers his college students were writing (in the way a first grader marvels at a fifth grader who writes an entire paragraph, not just one sentence), and chuckling to myself at his pro-gun control op-eds.  Even back then I knew college professors were loopy.

The following year I had the opportunity to shadow my State representative, who I remember as having a rather red-cheeked appearance and jovial manner.  I was still under the impression that politicians were somehow elevated beings, people possessed of occasional foibles and shortcomings, but ultimately intent on serving the public interest.  Ah, yes—the naïveté of youth.  I’ll never forget an energy lobbyist slapping him on the back and telling me, “I know Skipper will look out for us.”  Indeed.

Otherwise, Groundhog Day doesn’t loom large in my mind other than as a fun Bill Murray movie in which he woos a beautiful South Carolinian, Andie MacDowell.  Indeed, that film seems to have brought the holiday into the larger consciousness of Americans, as it had largely been a Mid-Atlantic—Pennsylvanian, really—observance up to that point.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: The Campaign Trail: Lamar Christmas Parade

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As I noted a few weeks back, I’m back in the arena, making my second run for Lamar Town Council. With the election five weeks away, I’m trying to get out there to meet more folks.  I’m not sure if anyone else filed, but last time I lost to a write-in candidate, so even if I’m running unopposed, I’m not taking any chances.

Because it’s a special election—the date is 12 January 2020—part of the campaign is simply letting people know there is an election.  Like the last special election (which was rescheduled from May to July due to The Virus), I expect turnout will be low, simply because it’s at such an unusual time of year, and because most people won’t realize there’s even an election in the first place.  Of course, this election won’t be a week after the July Fourth, so I anticipate slightly higher turnout.

So I hit the campaign trail by heading down to Lamar’s “Christmas on Main” event, and sticking around for the Christmas Parade.  Here’s a brief update of what it was like.

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Phone it in Friday XVI: Week in Review (5-8 October 2020)

I’m out of town for a few days, so I’m resorting to something I rarely do:  a week in review post.  Some bloggers feature these weekly, such as my blogger buddy Mogadishu Matt.  I sort of did one back with “Lazy Sunday LVIII: Spring Break Short Story Recommendations Recap,” but that was more a review of a week-long series of posts, not a review, per se, of the week itself.

Ah, well.  That’s just nit-picking.  Here’s what I wrote about this past week:

That’s it for this edition of Phone it in Friday.  Here’s hoping I wrote some material good enough that you don’t mind reading it (and reading about it) again.

Happy Friday!

—TPP

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Soda City Market

This week’s posts are going to be a bit more treacly than usual, as I’ll be out of town later in the week and am pressed for time (it’s the end of the quarter, which is always crunch time).  I will hopefully be able to cover the vice-presidential debate this week, but otherwise, I’ll be sticking to more lighthearted fare.

To that end, I thought I’d share about my visit Saturday to the Soda City Market, a weekly farmers and crafts market in the tradition of “European street markets,” per the market’s website.  It reminded me a great deal of Aiken’s Makin’, just in downtown Columbia:  lots of wood crafts and foods you’d only eat a festival.

I’ve missed festival season thanks to The Age of The Virus, so it was good to get out and see throngs of people buying wooden bric-a-brac and eating fair food.  Many festivals have been cancelled this year, or have seriously downsized (the Ridge Spring Harvest Festival, for example, just put on its “Battle for the Ridge” barbecue cook-off this year, and cancelled the other festival events) to comply with health and safety guidelines.

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