Saturday, October 24, 2009

I've Never Ridden A Log Flume While Wearing A Wool Hat

Let's just say that this was not the smartest thing that Julie and I have ever done...

~Steve

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"They Aren't Deep Fried And They Aren't Dipped In Chocolate"

This was the curious announcement we heard while walking by a stand where ham biscuits are sold at the North Carolina State Fair.

Apparently, while we were living in China, deep fried and chocolate dipped foods have become all the rage on the midway. When Dylan first mentioned that he was so looking forward to chowing down on some chocolate covered bacon, I thought I had heard him wrong. But, there he is, right in front of your eyes, "pig lickers" in his hand (and stomach).

And then there was the deep fried cheeseburger Dylan wolfed down several hours later. As it turns out, you can get pretty much anything deep fried at the fair. How about some deep fried...

HoHos.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Twinkies.

Pickles.

Candy bars.

Macaroni and cheese.

Pecan pie.

Oreos.

As for the four of us, we stuck to our old standbys, like lemonade, corn on the cob, and a Butcher Boys London Broil sandwich. Now, that's pig racin'!

~Steve

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Catholic Church In China: Part II--Houses Of Perseverance

(Update...The column was posted on the Catholic News Agency's web site for a few hours, but they actually intend to publish it next Monday, so it has been taken off for the time being. I will provide a heads up when it is up there for real.)

The Catholic News Agency has just published a second guest column that I have written on the Catholic Church in China (click here to access the column). This column goes outside of the cathedrals that were the focus of the first column, and enters into the apartments and villages where so much of the Church's most important work takes place on a day-to-day basis. In this column, you will meet a beautiful family, in particular a mother and her little girl. This family, I think you will come to agree, has demonstrated incredible perseverance in the face of unimaginable hardships.

~Steve

Whole Lotta Happy

You have no idea how hard it can be to find good parking at the North Carolina State Fair. Back in the early years, there was this one time when we were going with Desi's parents...And going...And going...Parking somewhere out near Wade Avenue left us with about as much time walking as we had time at the fair itself.

Then we got a bit wiser. Even though all of the attendants tell you there are no spots up near the gate, in fact there always are a few prime spaces available, what with people constantly coming and going from the grounds. The trick, we have found, is to work your way past the series of attendants who stand between you and your place of honor.

Here's how it went this year...

"Uh oh...There's an attendant who looks like he wants to stop our forward progress...Wait!...That car coming from the opposite direction has momentarily captured his attention. Make a right!"

And then, as we near the very first row of spaces, the attendant there also turned his head for a split second, as traffic approached from the other way. A quick left was in order, except that this attendant had some serious peripheral vision, and stopped us mid-turn.

"Hold on. There are no spots left in there."

"Should we turn around?"

"No. I don't want you all to cause a backup. Go ahead."

"Whole Lotta Happy" is the motto for this year's fair. And happiness is a good parking spot.

~Steve