Excitement is building for the Harvest Festival and Fair in Cloverdale. Gardeners are grooming their fruit and vegetables. Cooks are refining the recipes, and the lady's clubs are finishing up the last of their quilts. Everyone in Cloverdale is preparing something for the Fair.
I took a civic turn a few months ago and stopped at the police station to sign my name to the volunteer judging list. I checked the boxes for every division except garden produce. I planned on entering a few tomatoes myself, therefore my partiality would be suspect.
A week ago, while out ‘gardening’, I received a phone call from Her Worshipfulness, the Lord Mayor’s part time secretary. She left a message congratulating me on my selection as head judge for special effects photography. I was happy with the assignment. I like pictures (as long as I’m not in them). I even like taking pictures (although I’d never enter one of mine in the competition). I called her back and accepted the position.
“I’m sending the contest's entries in a large brown envelope marked Medical Test Results. We don’t want anyone to know you’ve been appointed a judge. The envelope will come by special delivery .” She explained.
“I understand,” I replied, wondering why they decided upon ‘medical test results’ as their disguise. My next door neighbor is a world champion gossip. Her one enjoyment in life comes from digging up dirt, legally and illegally, on everyone that falls within her field of vision. Once I caught her rifling through our building’s mailboxes. If she caught sight of the envelope before I got home, word would spread through town that I had some tropical disease with only weeks to live. That is her special power. She alone constitutes the entire root system of Cloverdale's gossip tree.
“You may prejudge the entries,” the secretary continued . “I will ask for your decisions at the fair. The Lord Mayor will award the Blue Ribbons. Thank you for your willingness to volunteer. Have a nice day.” The phone call ended.
A large brown envelope marked ‘Medical Tests’ arrived the following day. The pictures were impressive. Each showed remarkable imagination and skill. I have them hanging on a clothesline stretched across the fireplace in my living room . I stare at them daily. Before I leave for work I arrange them first to last only to rearrange them when I get home. It's driving me mad.
I’ve decided to let you see a few of what I regard as the best of the lot. I'll post the others tomorrow. What do you think?