I've never been a regular visitor to The Big E, because if you ask me it simply doesn't change enough from year to year to justify annual pilgrimages. Plus the entry fee has become absurdly expensive. Why should you have to spend twelve bucks just to walk through the door of a place where once inside you can't do anything without spending more money? However, this year my penny-pinching sensibilities were satisfied by the receipt of a free pass given to me by a friend. And so I went.
I saw cows. I saw pigs and little piglets. I saw more cows. There were goats and horses and big black hens. You could have what I was told are heavenly Maine potatoes if you were willing to wait a half hour in line. I wasn't. There was a dragon made of butter. There were pumpkins so big they had deformed into creepy orange blobs. The cows stank to high heaven. I ate at the Lion's Club outdoor bar, where as a youth my buddies and I would spend the whole day, then stagger around drunk offending the tourists. I would still do that today if my liver would allow it.
I'm glad that we don't live in an age when you had to own a cow to have milk. What a pain it must have been to take care of the big stupid beasts! I had a poignant moment outside the blacksmith shop where my old friend from Pine Point Vernon Phelps (above) now long dead of cancer, used to be the blacksmith. I just couldn't go inside and see anyone besides Vernon in that role. Finally I posed for a picture along with some kids with my face through a cutout of colonial figures. Did I mention the cows?
As usual I was uncomfortable in the big crowd. Generally speaking people can be appreciated best as individuals - en masse humanity is mostly an ugly thing. I guess the highlight of the day came when I was in the Rhode Island building, when whom should I spot but the then Rhode Island Governor Lincoln C. Almond. Only a political junkie like me would've known him from sight (at least among non-Rhode Island residents) and in fact almost everyone present seemed to be ignoring him, despite the state police that were surrounding him suggesting that he was somebody important. With my typical brashness, I handed my friend my camera, walked right up to Governor Almond ignoring the nervous, disapproving stares of the state police, and asked if he would mind if I had my picture taken with him. With perfect gentlemanly good nature he said he would be glad to. So here is the picture of me, livin' large at The Large Vowel, with my pal, da Guvnah.
I was surprised when looking up the stairs at the old courthouse to see the doors open in the early evening.
It turns out it was for an art show by photographer Dennis Stanton.
You can check out his pics here.
I'm sorry to see that the Ritz Camera shop in downtown Northampton has gone out of business.
A combination of digital cameras (no developing required) photoshop type software (anybody can get arty) and the internet (no overhead so cheaper prices) has combined to drive the small photoshops of America out of business.
In Amherst today this girl was holding a bake sale to raise money for programs at the Jones Library. Amherst is one of the wealthiest communities in the Valley, yet it is in constant fiscal crisis, whether it be good times or bad.
But the University goes on no matter what. Here's UMass at two o'clock this afternoon.
The whole world wants to be a Chili Pepper.