I was awake because I didn’t like what I’d written for this blog on Tuesday. The post was loaded with too many uses of “I” and “me” and “my”, which is ever so boring, so I decided not to share it with you. Yesterday, I couldn’t think of a decent substitute for what I’d written, so I did some other writing before puttering away on my gourd racer.
More about gourd racers in just a minute.
This morning, guilt brought me out of bed. Don’t you hate it when your mind decides you shouldn’t sleep? Now that I was two days behind schedule, I needed to get this blog written and up. Since I don’t want to wake up at 3 a.m. again tomorrow morning, here we are.
Dolly Parton gets up at 3 a.m. every morning. Willingly. At 76 years of age, she probably sings “Jolene” as she kicks off her covers. She says she prefers to start her day this early because she welcomes the quiet. Three in the morning is apparently a great time to do a little writing and a good hour to spend some time with God.
If I was God, I’d recommend we get together a little later in the day. Maybe after I’d had a cup of Joe or two.
It came as a surprise to me, but I like Dolly Parton. I didn’t expect for this to happen. She seemed like a lot, if you know what I mean, but years ago, I went to a concert. She was the opening act; a performer I didn’t want to see. I wished the promoter had picked someone else, anyone else; and, from the surrounding voices, it sounded like the rest of the crowd felt the same way. There wasn’t a lot of applause when she came on the stage. By the time she left the stage, she’d gained a legion of new fans. As a performer, she was warm, friendly, funny, and self-depreciating. She gave a performance that left the entire audience on their feet, cheering.
The headliner that followed did all right, but it was Dolly that won our hearts that night.
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I have a favorite new term: “Word loaf.” I was listening to a wonderful ASMR when she stated that the poorly written, horribly constructed novel she was reading was a terrible mishmash of words thrown together without sufficient thought or purpose. The book was a “word loaf.”
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“Slow and steady is definitely going to lose the race,” my life partner told me.
“You don’t know that,” I replied to him. “During a gourd run, anything can happen.”
Have you noticed that you can’t spell “replied” without including the word “lie”? We both knew I was lying when I said we didn’t know his gourd racer was going to do badly in the upcoming Running of the Gourds.
“Is there a prize for the slowest racer?” he asked me. I wish there was. Roll a rock down the racetrack, it’s gonna beat his gourd.
If this is all new to you, a gourd run is fun to watch. If you were once a Cub Scout or raised a Cub Scout, their Pinewood Derby is not dissimilar to the Grande 500. In the Pinewood Derby, per Wikipedia, “Scouts build their own unpowered, unmanned miniature cars from wood, usually from kits containing a block of pine wood, plastic wheels, and metal axles.” The only notable difference for the Grande 500 is that there are spruced-up gourds riding on top of the pine wood cars. On the day of the race, the Gourdsters are timed as they’re sent down a 32-foot ramp. After everyone has had their turn, the times are compared and the fastest Gourdster wins.
Having taken part in the Grande 500 once before, I knew what to expect. My whale racer (entry name: Thar She Rolls) is small, sleek, and heavily weighted around the rear axle for maximum speed. You bet I took notes the last time. Thar She Rolls has an excellent chance to make a better showing than my last racer.
In the spirit of fellowship, my guy decided he’d enter the race, too. This from a man who has no experience with gourding, Gourdsters, or clay work. Having been a Cub Scout, he’d taken part in the Pinewood Derby before. It did not go well. That was another occasion when he wished there’d been a prize for the slowest racer.
I suspect he regretted his offer to enter the Grande 500 the moment he made it. But, once the words were said, he rolled up his sleeves and got to work. He picked out the biggest gourd allowed—“It called to me”—joined me in my work area, cut himself on my tools, and literally bled to make his creation. His snail racer (entry name: The Snail Trails) will stand out from the other competition. It’s maxed out in size, weight, and wind resistance. If you say his creation is enjoyably ugly, I know he wouldn’t disagree.
Will he build another racer for next year? You don’t have to wonder, he’s already told me: “Oh, hell, no.”