Friday, July 22, 2005

4th of July Report

Well Cousins,
I have to tell you that the 4th of July in my hometown of Beloved was quite a big deal again this year.

Main Street was just loaded with buntings.  Annie Pankey, owner of Pankey's Hankies (the antique and lace goods store in town) got hold of a catalog from a flag company an' used her business to get the wholesale price on buntings.  Folks all up an' down Main Street kicked in an' bout them things to decorate storefronts, homes an buildings along the way.  Y'all have never seen anything as wonderful as red, white an' blue buntings movin' gentle like in the breeze down a busy street in some little ol' town like Beloved.

The Carnegie Library an' Pappy Yokum Masonic Lodge #149 ordered the great big ol' buntings for their buildin's right in the center of town next to Founder's Square.  The Square was decorated an' even the gazebo like buildin' that houses the still sleepin' form of Sleepy Jean had buntings all around.  All that hammerin' an' carryin' on actually made Sleepy Jean roll over to one side for a week or two.  Imagine that, after sleepin' for all those years undisturbed, she actually rolled over... course Sleepy Jean is another story.

You may have heard me tell the story of my Cousin Peanut's fried turkey a couple years back.  Seems he injected a small tom he shot with a quart of cajun sauce and 2 gallons of the best moonshine that the hills of Appalachia ever produced.  When that thing hit the hot peanut oil in the fryer, it took off,  going interstellar almost and ended up feedin' them American boys what was livin' on that Russian Space station a fine turkey dinner complete with little plastic flags attached to each wing...but that ain't the point of my story.

Since it is customary to do fireworks on the 4th of July, the town Elders - that's John and Fred Elder who are the only folks who will come to the 4th of July plannin' meetin's, the Elders decided that usin' the basic idea of injectin' chickens, Cornish hens or turkeys with moonshine an' then firin' 'em off fit right in.

They was a Cornish hen race for the youngin's - ages 5 to 12.  They each was given a one pound Cornish hen and four ounces of moonshine to inject into the tail of the bird.  They was allowed to decorate it anyway they wanted as long as they didn't add more than the four ounces of shine and 1 additional ounce of decorations.  They placed the birds in a trough made of gutter pipe with an open end an' aimed them dang birds no more than 12 degrees in the air.  Longest flight wins.

Johnny Ray Sizemore added little bat wings to his an' painted it black in honor of his favorite comic book hero an' won!  Believe it or not his bird went 17 miles before sputterin' out.  Charlie Jenkins got honorable mention 'cause that dang coyote got a-hold of his bird before folks found it and measured.  It may have went 16.4 miles or the coyote might have found it an' carried it that far before it was ate... no one knows so they gave him the benefit of the doubt.

For the adults they was a limit of a 7 pound turkey with no decorations an' 12 ounces of moonshine.  The FAA put that limitation on due the the plain fact that last year's races messed up the flights of folks goin' in an' out of Lexington, Kentucky's airport.  The winner was Birdie Sue Poovey who saw her bird go 4 miles into the air before explodin' in a show of outer space oyster dressin' filled with sparklers on little ol' hankie parachutes that floated down just a twinklin' like fallin' stars.  'Course her daddy is Percival Poovey, "Purveyor of Potent Potables"... that is to say, he makes the moonshine.  We suspect he did up a special batch just for her.  So she is "Flyin' Shine Turkey Queen" this year.  We had a little ol' turkey crown made up with real Saworski crystals an' everthin'.  The back end of the turkey fits on her head an' the tail hangs down on her forehead like some jewel.  Man, was she somethin' to see.

We fried turkeys all day, but did not allow any to be injected with moonshine.  FAA rules an' all, you know.

The night ended with fryin' hens filled with fireworks an' injected with just a few ounces of moonshine shot off about a mile or so into the  air.  The fireworks an' moonshine burnin' would cook them fryin' hens as they came down, explodin' them into nicely broasted legs, thighs, wings and perfectly split breasts done to perfection.  Folks who had been there before brought sheets, butterfly nets an' the occasional bow an' arrow to try to snag a piece as it fell to earth in the fading light.

Dozens of youngin's ran around through the crowd chasin' each other like youngin's do.  A few couple sat an' gazed deep into each other's eyes an' missed the whole display.  Older folks sat an' talked quietly while they watched, rememberin' the way it used to be an' all.

It was a good 4th of July in Beloved.  I can't wait till Sheep Dip Days.  Now, that is one great festival!!!
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