Sunday, July 15, 2012

Celo Homecoming

I wrapped up my 2500 mile circuit of the mountains on my Bonneville by showing up for the Farm Olympics in Celo, North Carolina.

I was later advised we were supposed to be disguised as farmers. I was disguised as a rather dirty, tired motorcycle farmer while my brother in law in the orange shirt decided he needed a weird straw hat to complete his disguise while his wife was lightly disguised as an Indian housewife farmer.

It was a great afternoon for unwinding from an endless motorcycle ride and I was really glad they invited me and my Kermit chair to hang by and in the water with a hundred of their closest friends.

I did not swing on the rope but I enjoyed watching the youngsters frighten themselves half to death. We older folks laid into the grub of which there was lots and included roast pork and kegs of beer. I told you it was a great way to end a long ride.

The water was surprisingly warm in the river which may be called the North Toe River. I enjoyed splashing around in it, whatever it was called.

The pig was pretty much dismembered as the meal went on. I forgot to get a picture of it on the spit but this rendering was quite dramatic I thought:

Then things moved on to the Third Annual Farm Olympics, em'ceed by a man in a skirt, and very funny he was too.

The Olympics involved teams of five swimming the river, jumping obstacles and wriggling through mud. Great fun was had by all.

It was young people's sport and my in laws who have lived for 40 years in the Intentional Community of Celo in these mountains were heartened to see so many youngsters having fun. Geeta was pretty happy when she told me she had feared their community might become a retirement center. Retirees don't swim like this:

With the river crossing completed the racers slipped out of their coveralls and passed them to the next contestants...

...who struggled to get into the heavy wet cotton in preparation for becoming human wheelbarrows up the hill from the river.

The idea behind the Olympics was to bring neighbors together for the Fourth of July holiday period and many of those present had come home to their roots to enjoy a mountain holidays where the grew up.

They jumped obstacles, swapping the coveralls as they went, ending up in the mud hole under the tarp.

No mercy shown to anyone choosing to participate.

Some photographers were quite into the events. I was reflecting on the good fortune of the youngsters who grew up in Celo, educated on Quaker principles at the local school, raised as it were by a village in the sort of security and emotional safety net that such a world offers the children, even today.

And they may travel far afield to pursue careers but they come home from time to time and remember a carefree childhood in the woods.

Our hosts for the Farm Fest handing out awards:

And then, full of beer and pork and pasta and sponge cake I got lost in the hats on display. My sister-in-law Geeta starts the fashion show:

Mountain people love their hats.

Shade from the cancerous sun is all important to fair skinned people.

Beards and hats everywhere.

This one looked like a 19th century railroader's, and I wonder where he bought it.

These pork pie hats are fashionable and thus appear useless to me.

Child rearing is also fashionable among Asheville's youth, done in the shade of a broad straw hat, very useful and practical.

Really there were tons of young people everywhere, reproduction in action.

And farming also in action, not surprisingly as this was a farm not an Olympic Arena in real life.

The Mud Tunnel of Death reverted to being just a simple mud hole once again, as the youngsters settled down to music and fireworks as the sun set. I went home early to nurture my aching butt.

I quite like rural western North Carolina.

I wish I had grown up in Celo though rural central Italy made a not bad substitute.

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