Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bloomin' Idiots

It’s Apple Blossom weekend here in the Shenandoah Valley, a time for the tacky, the kitschy, the pseudo-celebrity and the campy to all converge in Winchester at one time.

Thanks, but I’m sitting this year out.

Hate crowds. Hate lines. Hate trying to park. Not all that fond of parades, especially these days when most of what you see going by is advertising.

The first year we came to Virginia I was totally unaware of the Apple Blossom Festival. My grandmother, who I had been taking care of, had suffered another heart attack and we had just placed her in a nursing home. My aunt and uncle came down to help me get some legalities settled and somehow managed to secure a hotel room.

One morning I went to their hotel room to pick them up to go visit my grandmother and my uncle was watching TV, laughing hysterically.

“This has got to be a joke, right?” he asked me, still laughing. “An Apple Blossom queen? They’re kidding, right?”

I shrugged and looked at the TV. I’d only been in Virginia two months. What did I know?

There on the screen was this woman dressed in lots of white ruffles sitting on this cheesy float surrounded by some other women dressed in lots of ruffles.

My aunt observed the TV closely and came to a different conclusion. “They’re just doing some historical thing, you know where they dress up like…like…

She trailed off. She didn’t know what they were dressed like. They were very …um… frothy. She started laughing too.

Later, at the front desk, my uncle said to the clerk in passing, “So I hear there’s a festival or something going on.”

The clerk looked at him like he was nuts. “Isn’t that why you’re here?” she said incredulously.

We all looked at each other, my uncle, my aunt and me, all of us trying not to laugh.

My uncle swallowed hard. “No, we’re here to settle my mother into a nursing home. We were just curious about the …” another hard swallow, “… Apple Blossom … Queen.”

My aunt and I walked away so we could laugh without offending anyone, only to meet up with a group of people dressed in the tacky attire that I now know is the Apple Blossom uniform.

It was a long weekend. You couldn't drive around easily because roads were blocked off. Everything was closed up for the festival.

“This is a big deal,” my uncle observed.

To this day whenever I talk to him he asks how the festival is coming along this year. When he came down for my wedding he insisted that “Winchester just isn’t the same without the Apple Blossom Queen.”

I guess my dress just didn’t have enough ruffles.

Editor's Note: If you go to the Apple Blossom Festival, don't look for Sisiggy. She's heading for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival where she will not wear pink and green together. We can't say the same for Dirtman.


Jagosaurus said...

Wow. That sounds ... awful. "Frothy" is a great description of how the Apple Blossom/Boll Weevil/Catfish queens always look.

Lifecruiser said...

Somehow I got stucked at the editors note: ..."We can't say the same for Dirtman..."

I'm kinda picturing him with pink and green clothes now.....

*falling off the chair*

Leslie Shelor said...

I'm just jealous that you're in Maryland and I'm not. But come on down to our friendly little festivals here; not a ruffle in sight, huh, JAG?