Several weeks ago we were in North Carolina for a business trip. We chose to drive instead of fly so that we could make several stops on the way home to spend time with family. As part of that weekend family fun, we went to a local apple festival. It was a whole-county type of event and had all the things you’d imagine a small town festival to have.
There was a section for local arts and crafts that took up most of the downtown main street area. There was the inevitable ring of food vendors from all of the local churches and civic groups that surrounded the town square. They sold everything from vinegar BBQ to hot chocolate…not an appetizing combination there, but you get my drift. There were 3 stages to showcase the local talent. (My brother-in-law’s band played on one of them and did a fantastic job!) There were displays to sign people up to vote and a beekeeper informational booth complete with marked queen bees, a floral display booth, exotic plant and vegetable vendors and, of course, more apples than the entire group of festival attendees could have consumed during a whole month. Those were the things I expected to see…totally normal.
One of the things I didn’t see was a lot of dogs on leashes. It’s one of the things I had actually expected to see since they’re almost everywhere these days. You know, the tiny “designer” dog on a flashy leash…yes, even here in Mississippi these are quite common. We also get our fair share of ‘regular’ working dogs out on leashes in Mississippi, as well…but not at this festival. In fact, these North Carolina folks had signs that made it quite clear that dogs–leashed or otherwise–weren’t to be brought into the festival area at all. Naturally, there were a few rebels, but they were very few, indeed. I even saw one policeman actually encourage one intrepid owner with properly attached pet to move right on out of the area ASAP. Seriously, even the display advertising a local pet sitting/grooming business didn’t have live animals…they had stuffed animals in their pens/cages. I’d never seen anything like that in my life! I am an animal lover with 3 cats and I even stock treats for the neighborhood dog who has adopted our whole street, but crowded places aren’t always the best places for people with animals, you know, so I could totally understand their ban on pooches for the day. It was a bit unusual..but still within the outer limits of normal…I guess.
Across from the pens with the stuffed animals was an enclosure with a couple of live animals. Alpacas. Two of them…named Pebbles and BamBam. Cute and cuddly looking with bits of straw poking out of their mouths. It kind of made them look like hillbilly alpacas. Hillbilly alpacas named Pebbles and BamBam. Now, that‘s something you don’t see every day, either. Definitely not normal, but really cool, nonetheless.
What I was considerably less prepared to see, however, emerged from some trees and came down the hill just behind the hillbilly alpacas…a man walking his camel. Yes, you read that right. A man came walking down the hill with a camel on a leash. Suddenly the ban on dogs seemed a lot more reasonable. I mean, really, how could they possibly compete with a camel?! Oh, how I wished for the camera! Alas, my husband was in possession of it and somewhere down the street. You would have loved that shot! It was absolutely fabulous! Since that photo now exists only in my mind, you’ll have to do with the one that came later, but trust me, you wouldn’t have been disappointed, either. A camel at an apple festival…Definitely NOT normal. In fact, downright ODD, but still really, really cool!
You just never know what entertainment God is going to put in front of you, do you?! The main thing is to be on the lookout for the fun. Have a sense of anticipation as you go through life! It makes life so much easier on you and on those around you–and God knows there are plenty of people who are already on the lookout for the negative. Buck the trend! Choose joy today!
Oh! One more thing: at the risk of offending the entire state of North Carolina…whether or not you see a camel at your next apple festival…seriously…avoid the vinegar BBQ! Come see us in Mississippi…and we’ll show you how it’s really supposed to be done. (great big grin.)
*all photos by Mike or Becky Childs