Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Day 8 - What is an Okra Strut?

2 Timothy 1:3-4
Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.
I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted.
And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.

As I sit here watching American Idol try-outs from Omaha, Nebraska (the corn capital of the world, according to Randy), I'm amazed that Columbia, South Carolina doesn't tout some sort of produce title. And here is why ... Over the past few days I've been noticing the most unusual phenomenon. People use CABBAGE to landscape/decorate their yards. See ...

And, while this is pretty and all, why? And who thought this up? Imagine the thought process as someone is out in their garden and thinking, "Hmmmm... I think this would be pretty to put in a lovely pot and sit on the front porch." I guess I don't think outside the proverbial box.

And then, I get down the road to a small suburb of Columbia, called Irmo (I always want to call it Elmo, but I digress) where I am met with this sign:

Upon returning to the hotel, I "googled" (is that a word you thought you'd be using, say, oh, even five years ago?) "Okra Strut". IMAGINE MY SURPRISE when I found a whole website - http://www.irmookrastrut.com/ -- devoted to this, um, event. Sadly, it was September 28-29 of last year so I missed it. I checked my schedule for that time and found that I did come to South Carolina the week following this event. Anyway, the Okra Strut features events such as a golf tournament, a "Dam Run to Irmo" (Irmo is near a dam), the Okra Strut Parade which is billed as the largest festival parade in South Carolina with more than 100 units participating, including Okra Man, floats, beauty queens and marching bands, a children's okra eating contest (do any children actually EAT okra??) and performances by several band and entertainment acts. Attendance is estimated at 55,000 annually. It was started by the local Lake Murray-Irmo Women's Club as a way to raise funds for a new library. Here is a photo I found of Okra Man.

My life is complete now. I'm sure yours is as well. I'm glad I could share this with you. *smile*

So, today was interesting as I could barely move my arms when I got up because my elbows hurt so badly. Then, my upper back had a burning pain that hurt no matter how I moved. If I turned my head, it hurt. I took two Motrin, nothing. Add to that my contacts were "boogered" and I couldn't see well. I tried and tried to clean them but I still couldn't read the road signs so I quit and went to the local Wallyworld, had an eye exam, got contacts and lost an hour and a half. Surprisingly, though I managed to make up the time and had a record day completing 99 jobs. I would have pressed for 100, but not thinking I'd make it that far, I had not put any more on my schedule and didn't have any more with me. So, I'm at an eight day total of 614. Weather forecast indicates we might have rain tomorrow which could throw a wrench into my plans to knock out another 90 tomorrow. Oh well ... we will see. I am pleased to report that the pain in my elbows and back have subsided. I'm certain I worked it out today moving around. It could have been scared out of me when the dog almost bit me.

I knocked on a door and Mrs. Insured came to the door. After explaining why I was there I gave my usual, "Will it be ok if I go in the back yard? Are there any dogs back there?" She said the dog was in the house and she would leave him inside. As I rounded the back of the house, he was in the screened porch just barking his head off. Mr. Insured was in his shop and came out and I told him who I was, why I was there and that I was taking the back photos. There was a swimming pool so I was walking back to it to take the photo. All of a sudden I hear Mr. Insured yelling, "Chocolate!! Come back here!" Mr. Insured had opened the back screen door and the dog got out. Mr. Insured says to me, "He won't bother you." HA! Chocolate made a FULL circle around the house in about two seconds, rounded the back of the house . I'm moving QUICKLY somewhere -- I'm not even sure where I was going. Chocolate found an open gate in the back of the pool and came running full force at me barking, head down, growling like he is going to eat me alive I remember the thought running through my head that this dog was going to knock me into the pool (which was still full and uncovered) and I was going to be really mad. I shoved my clipboard down in front of me and yelled, "Stop!" still backing up. The owner managed to grab at him but apparently, he got loose again and was starting to make his second round -- the owner, all the while, yelling, "Chocolate! Stop it! Come here!" Fortunately, Mr. Insured managed to corral him back into the house and then had the nerve to say to me, "He's never bitten anyone before. Would my insurance have covered you if he bit you?" *sigh* I simply replied, "The line I use with my dog is that he hasn't bitten anyone yet -- you could be the first. And yes, I think your insurance would have covered me, but I sure don't want to find out." And I left -- immediately -- before Chocolate could get out again. I'm going to tell you, that scared the jeepers out of me.

So, now I'm going to go on out on the "whining" limb that I hate to go out on and say, "Folks, I am TIRED." I am so ready to go home. I miss everything and everyone. Talking on the phone is not the same. I have discovered what the term "bags" under your eyes means. I truly have never seen the things that have puffed up under my eyes. I scared myself this morning when I looked in the mirror. I kept poking at them going, "What in the WORLD is wrong with my eyes?" Then I realized it's probably because I'm just so stinking tired. Ok, I'm stepping off my whining box.

Here's a photo of a rock I saw on some one's porch. I thought it was cute. I'm also include another piece of yard ornamentation I saw and liked. I think I am the only person who has ever served as a photojournalist of yard ornaments of South Carolina.

And, last, but certainly not least, one of the owners of one of the houses I photographed has a cat named Mama Kitty. He said she has her own "Cat House". Here you go -- South Carolina's Cat House:

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