Monday, October 5, 2009

The first weekend in October.

It is officially fall here in the Indiana heartland. Part of me rejoices in the sweet earthy smell of falling leaves and the ability to once again wear layers and sleep under blankets. The other part of me dreads the upcoming snow drifts, holiday hustle and gas bills. However, one thing gets me so excited about fall: The Cataract Bean Dinner and Flea Market.

Yes, every year the Cataract Fire Department cooks 700 pounds of beans over a wood fire in these enormous cast iron pots. They begin way before the sun comes up and most times the night before. Someone guarding the pots all through the night. People show up in droves to an otherwise backwoods, if you blink you will miss it, sleepy sleepy town. All along the road people set up their wares and hawk old tools and try to get you to buy a winter's worth of china made socks for the low, low price of 5 dollars.

It thrills me.

I always eat a big bowl of ham and beans and sip on a glass of tea. We walk past the general store that has been there since the beginning of time and then walk back to the car stopping to pick up a bowl of pumpkin ice cream. Every year, it's always the same. The same old ladies are making the cornbread, the same old men are sitting by the general store.

This year's obsession is old linens. And I hit the jackpot. This really sweet lady had a drying rack full of precious and absolutely beautiful linens that she had hand washed and ironed for this special event. I picked up a whole bag for the low price of 14 dollars. Could I be ANY HAPPIER? I think not.
I'm obsessed with the loop stitch right now that creates the flowers. So this find of an embroidered table runner nearly brought me to tears. It is inspiring in its simplicity and detail.

There are hankies and wall hangings and tablecloths. I can't wait to find a purpose for them all. I need to get back to my sewing machine.

I have to say that as inconsequential as it seems, this little tiny festival way, way off the main road is my perfect idea of a great Sunday afternoon. My dad spilling beans down the front of his shirt and getting to meet his first bus driver. Seeing people I'd met a million years ago and wondering how they got so old. Only realizing I myself am getting older. The smell of woodsmoke when you first park and your mouth salivating. The pure glee of getting warm in the sun after poking around some one's treasure stash in the shade. I don't think I would want to be doing anything else the first weekend in October.

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