Tuesday, July 27, 2021

When Is a Stampede Not a Stampede

I made the drive to Mayberry last Thursday evening after work. Although I had planned the trip for a while (Stampede weekend is always the same weekend in July), I was even more anxious to go since Mom had a medical procedure done on Wednesday.

She handled the procedure well and was already on the mend before I got there, but that did nothing to alleviate my concern.

The trip itself took slightly longer than usual, thanks to some road construction that is being done in one of the canyons separating Mayberry from Petticoat Junction. Knowing that there would be a lengthy wait in a long line of cars, I packed snacks and drinks, downloaded a podcast, and made myself comfortable.

Waiting in line...

As the long line of cars finally started to move, the skies opened up and I enjoyed the rest of the drive in a downpour that signaled the beginning of the seasonal monsoons. It was relaxing and refreshing at the same time, which, were feelings that I expected to need as I entered the chaos that is Mayberry on Stampede weekend.

In a normal year, I would have been right about that. This year? Not so much. I don't know if the changes that were made to the event this year are a hold-over from the pandemic or simply the direction that the new committee members are going in, but; it sucked.

In a normal year (any of the past 99 to be exact), the weekend would kick off with a parade Thursday morning, followed by the Rotary Club Chuck-Wagon dinner in the late afternoon. The night would be capped off with a concert followed by a dance. 

This  year, there was no parade, in fact, the Friday parade was also cancelled, leaving just one parade on Saturday (boo, hiss). The traditional Chuck-Wagon dinner menu included either pulled or sliced beef on a bun with BBQ sauce, coleslaw or baked beans, and a cup of ice cream (the ones served with a flat paddle spoon). This year's menu, which I did not personally sample since I arrived in Mayberry too late for the dinner, was a baked potato with green chili, a pickle, and a cookie. All seven of my aunts and uncles who attended the dinner were less than impressed.

The concert was Scotty McCreery, which I have to assume was a success, but I was uninterested in attending and chose to visit with Mom and my aunts and uncles.

Friday morning, since there was no parade, I slept in and then enjoyed coffee and chatting with the family. Hugh made a last-minute decision to drive up (he was supposed to open the hardware store on Saturday, but got one of our employees to do it, freeing him up). Once he arrived, he became the de-facto grill master, responsible for grilling fresh Olathe Sweet Corn and brats. We had no desire to attend the dance, so that was the extent of our activity for the day.

On Saturday, we did watch the parade, which, is the only Stampede activity that we engaged in. Mom had purchased box seats for the rodeo before learning that the traditional daytime rodeo had been moved to a nighttime performance, which we all knew would be rained out (the box seats are uncovered and we had no desire to sit in the rain in the dark). She returned the tickets and scolded the committee for failing to communicate the change. 

Sunday, Hugh and I said our goodbyes and made the drive back home. I don't regret going to Mayberry, and, I'm certain to go again next year, when Stampede rolls around again, but; I hope the negative feedback that the community expressed regarding the changes to the event will prompt the committee to return to tradition. Fingers crossed. 

Anyhoodle, I'll end this post with a photo dump of the weekend.

Dinner on the patio with the famdamily

The Aunts, going through the last unopened trunk of Grandma's belongings

Some things NEVER change: Smokin' Charlie, scaring the crap out of kids since the sixties

Mom, still looking good, even when she's not feeling great

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