Friday is the start of the Lauderdale County Tomato Festival, a very big event. We missed the opening ceremonies and events for the day. Wasn't important, number one, and number two, SF was getting the foyer in order. He disagrees with my arrangement. I reserve judgment on his, until I can see the final product. We work so well together. Mopped the floor and waxed it. The wood is very, very dry and soaks up everything. We alternate with trips to the trees to relax.
Well, here are my buddies from the Realtors' office. They've come to check on the progress of the house and to make sure I know about the festival. They inform me that the square is full of people and cars so I should walk rather than drive. Now, I am not known for wanting to walk but even I can manage two blocks. Anyway, they like the progress (boxes and all), loved the mini-foyer, and promise to check back. As they are leaving, up drives the good Deacon. He is determined to keep working at projects until August. I make the introductions between the two men. Deacon outlines his plans; SF listens and questions. They seem to bond.
Trips to the inside, move things, make the trip back to the trees. It is hot.
Phone rings. The third Shaw brother. Wants to be considered for painting the outside of the house but he'll be doing it alone. Actually, he and his wife. I let him know that I'm not ready for that yet but will keep him in mind. I understand that Shannon didn't pay as regularly or as on-time that he should have, leading this brother to believe that I wasn't paying. He found out otherwise. Truth be known, I'm trying to get out of this business relationship with the brothers--too cut-throat for me. Mike has been by to find out if Shannon was cutting him out of the fascia/guttering end; Jerry thought I wasn't paying; families in tow, I've really had enough. I want to stay in Mike's good graces because he can handle my electricity/plumbing/gas needs and just about everything else I need in a handyman.
Now we've migrated to the front. Pictures hung and a second coat of wax applied to the floor. Dry is an understatement; arid, parched, bone-dry, gasping for liquid of any sort are more accurate descriptions. The first coat of wax barely produced a sheen and I'm using Daycon's best. I know the results it produces and it is not happening.
Doorbell at the rear. It's Shannon. Today's Friday, remember. You talking about ugly when he found out I was taking out the money I had to pay someone else to clean the yard! He got real ugly, so much so that SF quickly stepped in. I couldn't believe it. "I didn't authorize you to hire someone else." Has he lost his mind? "I came by Thursday and cleaned up. Your car wasn't here and it wasn't here when I came back later." Is there a law that says Abby must remain parked or that I must be home at all times? Especially when I am not expecting you? "You must have made a mistake when you told me I could come by Thursday evening and finish." I didn't make a mistake because I never told him to finish on Thursday. "I spent the holiday with my family like every other sane person." Excuse me, who said they were coming by on Wednesday morning to complete the job? "I've spent my time for the last three weeks, working weekends, coming after work." You got paid for your time. "I'm going to get my 40 dollars." I believe that is a threat; however, SF says not to worry about it. It was too ugly and not the way I would want a business transaction to end; however, so be it. Yard wasn't cleaned; I had to pay someone to get most of it up and SF took a wheelbarrow load of old wood to the dumpster which had been overlooked. Didn't I make myself clear?
SF said that I was too nice. Shouldn't have kept them supplied with water, allowed them to use the phone, etc. Because of that, Shannon felt that he could muscle me. Even without SF in residence, that wasn't happening. Rotten tomato.
We opt not to visit the square for the concert that night. Watch the crowds of teens making their way back past the house to wherever they live around the corner. More teens than I've seen in the month or so that I've been here. A regular exodus. Orderly. A surprise. Groups of teens in an urban setting cause you to run for cover. A sad observation.
Saturday begins with another coat of wax to the floor. Starting to look better but still not there. I'm trying to convince SF that the foyer is too cold; something else is needed to give it warmth. Neither of us knows what it is but something is missing. Off we go, down rte. 51 to Covington, to a consignment/thrift store where I've put a few items there for resale. One of them, the china cabinet, is missing the glass shelves. Actually, I gave them the wrong set of shelves and need to exchange them.
TN seems to do big business in thrift stores, consignment sales, pawn shops, swap meets, and flea markets. I can get into that. I should get big applause for putting the furniture items up for sale. What do I get? You've got more stuff that you need to get rid of. Geez, can't win for trying.
Why are the Harpers' closed? On a Saturday morning? People are driving up and looking puzzled. So am I. A wasted trip, 16 miles; should've called first. Back down the road. Stop in at furniture discount place that is only open on weekends. Beautiful brown leather sofa. Don't need it but can lust over it. Prices not bad; some good pieces, some cheap stuff that is overpriced. The owner says that his son is a distributor for several furniture lines in Memphis and this is an extension of his business. He was a furniture salesman in his former life but is now retired. Just helping his son out. "Where you from?" This leads into a discussion of DC and its places of interest. He's been there once; wife had to drag him out of the Smithsonian. He hopes to return.
He's also a big history buff, especially on the Civil War. I made the "mistake" of asking why Tennessee had so many battles as opposed to the other southern states. Long, long explanation. I'll spare you the intricacies and just tell you what my brother and I had figured out: it was a major supply route for the Confederacy. Trains and ships. Still is a major supply route if you look at a map. Memphis to Chicago and points west and east. Interesting. I promised to return for more history lessons. Sounds sarcastic but I really enjoyed the information.
Back to Ripley through a major downpour. The rain comes up so suddenly and with such force, here. You can't see where you are going. Slow to a crawl. As we near Ripley, the rain ends. Not a drop touched this fair city. Good thing because the festival is still going on.
We make a detour to take a look at the vaunted Ripley Water Park. Not bad. Lots of room, recreation and picnic facilities. The Black population seems to have congregated over here. Maybe it is a family reunion. Good place for it. Maybe my family would consider having a reunion here. Not.
Into town, park the car, and walk back to the festival. Live entertainment at the bandstand; bleachers set up on the court's yard. Mega vendors, most doing food of some kind. FRIED TWINKIES! Pork rinds. Barbecues. I could have sworn the applications limited the number of food vendors. A petting zoo--rank. Body and bath products, spices, wrought iron creations for the yard, handcrafted bags and sun dresses for the toddlers. Nothing great in the way of vendors. Aha, only one person making t-shirts on the spot. I have my booth for next year. Brother, James, if he's here, can do his oils, Shea butter, and the like. Maybe we can do baskets, as well. Are you listening, James?
The area by the fire department has been turned into a mini-carnival. Explains the draw for the youth. My neighbor, when asked, said she doesn't attend, if she ever did. I can understand but it is still nice. Got my tomato fan (hand fan in the shape of a tomato) and bought Ripley tomatoes. Please. It is the tomato festival. Barbeque to go. Well, looky here. Jennings Realty has received the red ribbon for having the most original decoration. Should have had my camera. The storefront sits on the corner and it was decorated with pots of tomato plants (construction paper) to which they attached photos of houses for sale. It was the "Tomato Patch."
Back to the house for the barbeque. Not that great but filling and messy. Survey the floor. Still not up to par but it will have to do. Put down protective covering so painters arriving on Monday won't ruin the efforts. Opt out of the evening's festivities and sit on the porch. Ma and Pa Kettle. That is, until the bugs ran me in. Eaten alive. SF's flight in the a.m. requires an early departure from Ripley. He swears he will NOT fly that airline, again.