In my childhood bedroom I had two closets, yes TWO closets. Every girls dream, right? One closet was exclusively for clothes and shoes, jackets and covered shoeboxes filled with mementos. The other closet was filled entirely with books. I had deep shelves, and stacked books three or four high, neatly lined across. Favorite books were stored within easy reach, books I only re-read once or twice (yes, most books in my childhood were read multiple times) were placed on the higher-to-reach shelves. The bottom shelf of the closet didn’t go all the way to the floor; instead there was a gap - a perfect place for storing extra blankets or large boxes, except I used it as my secret reading place.
I grabbed a flashlight, usually snuck a snack up (sorry Mom, I know there was no snacking between meals!), and curled up in the dark closet reading about the latest Sweet Valley Twin adventures from Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, follow Dicey Tillerman crisscross the eastern seaboard in Homecoming, fight alongside Johnny Tremain and other Revolutionary War heroes, and sail along the Mississippi River with Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. One of my favorites (located on the lower shelves) was The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; I always preferred the seriousness of Huck than the childish antics of Tom.
So, imagine my pleasure when I had the opportunity to attend the Huck Finn Jubilee this past Father’s Day weekend. Yes, your weekend had a BBQ and a lie-in, and celebrated Dad’s Day, and mine consisted of 1880’s style contests, Bluegrass music, and an arm wrestling contest, and well, we celebrated my dad on Saturday night with a traditional Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner.
(Side Note: yes, you read that correct. We had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and cranberries because you can’t have turkey without cranberries. Who knows, we might be on to something here. A new tradition of sorts: Thanksgiving for Father’s Day! I think it has a nice ring to it, no? I know my Dad keeps telling me we should be giving thanks for him.)
But, the day was all sorts of wonderful, a bit weird, and extremely interesting. For example, did you know that the Victorville elementary school has a Bluegrass music class which practices 45-minutes daily? Or that playing Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher is a paid gig in which they travel around the country attending festivals and events? Or that an 1880’s authentic style contest included “Cow Chip Throwing.”
Internet, this is all news to me.
But, in all seriousness, J and I had a blast. I mean, how can you not have fun pretending to be on the banks of the Mississippi with Tom, Becky, Huck and Jim? We had drank fresh strawberry lemonade, listened to the best banjo players this side of the Rockies, watched a raft building contest, and watched soldiers from the Blue and Grey participate in a Civil War rifle demonstration (luckily this time they weren’t aiming at each other).
And, when I got home I cracked open my beloved copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and curled up on the couch. Some things never change.