Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Small Town, USA

I attended a Corn Festival on Saturday night in Heber, AZ. I had to go and visit some of the kids on my case load, and Heber is about 2 hours away, so hubby and I decided to make a weekend out of it.
Heber is a small town north-east of Phoenix. For reference, it's about 45 minutes past Payson, then another 35 minutes from Heber to Show Low.
The foster Mother of the kids is a very young 67, full of spit and vinegar. She's everyone's grandmother, hugging all who enter, asking if you're hungry or thirty or if you have to pee. My kids like her but are in the middle of settling in by testing all of the boundaries. Especially the oldest, "John", who is 15. John's a skater boy: longer hair, tight jeans, concert tees, swaggery walk, IPOD permanently embedded in one ear with fast, screaming people music. The biggest adjustment for John is the fact that the majority of the Heber community, meaning about 95%, is Mormon.

Which brings us full swing back to the Corn Festival. Foster Mom didn't tell John (or me) that the Festival was a church gathering. Imagine our surprise when the Bishop stood on a log and started preaching.
I am not the biggest fan of organized religion, however, I AM a fan of to each his own. I was not bothered by the ruse of calling a church pot-luck a festival. I am one of those people who generally makes my own good time. I was a little jaw dropped when the Bishop's story about some guy during the Civil War took a turn down the "blackards" path; the story suddenly involving racial slurs in a non-chalant tone.

There are places in the States where time has appparently stopped. With all of the advancements and science and education, it does not seem possible people choose to keep blinders on their own eyes.

After the long winded, racially motivated story ended - 30+ minutes later - we were able to hit the tables of food. These tables included 50 desserts, 40 varieties of potatoe salad, pasta salad, and lettuce, and of course, corn. This was the best corn we've had in years!
It was my first vegetarian Morman gathering. I survived, as did my husband and the foster children.

We spent the rest of the weekend hiking and camping, marveling at how diverse Arizona really is. There are few placed you can go from desert and saguaro to cool air and pines in 45 minutes. We discovered Small Town, USA is like many of the antique stores you find there: bits and peices stuck in time, needing some new paint or a repair, with all the shiny pretty things out on display but the real items in the back room, never changing.

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