Every year since I’ve been teaching at Ohio University, students will ask me if I am going to celebrate Halloween with them on Court Street. The answer is always “No!”. “No way, not a chance, are you kidding me?, when monkeys fly out of my…”, you get the picture. Invariably there are hurt feelings because I have such a low opinion of what for many will be the culminating social event of their life. I try to explain, they always insist that I explain, and to soften the blow I say something to the effect of “I have been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans…, I have been to the World Championship Chili Cookoff in Terlingua, (¡Viva Terlingua!, by the way), …AND I have been to the State Fair of Texas, the largest State Fair on the planet.” I just never thought that wading through hundreds of drunk students puking and being arrested had much appeal. No matter how good an answer I think mine is, it is never enough. Well, NEXT YEAR, I get to say, I’ve done Carnaval in Toledo! This ought to shut anybody up. Until you have been part of a parade of hundreds of people squeezed into narrow streets along with marching bands, drum corps, people wearing mourning clothes wailing at the top of their lungs and everybody, EVERYBODY, following a big sardine for two hours and several miles until reaching the river and laying the sardine to its eternal rest, accompanied by one of the best fireworks shows I’ve seen and immediately followed by a live merengue band, free roasted sardines for everybody (regular sized ones) and cheap beer, well, you just haven’t lived. Sorry Athens: Halloween, Palmer Fest, etc. just can’t compete (and that’s okay). I could fill a book on what I like about Athens but the various alcohol-fueled adolescent rites of passage won’t be in it.
Just as an aside, I’ve injured my wrist and forearm and have been unable to write and type. It will still be a few days before my fingers are back in full swing so please accept this very short installment on the tons of things which have been going on since last I wrote. In addition to the picture above, I will post some more galleries to the right in the next little while.