Live! On the Air Now!
It's the Yard Yeti Radio Show!!!!
Cue the Noon Whistle! That's your subliminal signal, to pull up a chair, throw your legs over the armrest, grab something refreshing from the cooler, and tune in...to Me, your favorite Yard Yeti...and my infamous tweeting partner, my pet parakeet Pepper.
"Tick tock goes the clock...time won't stand still. But we can...let's catch up. It's Yard Yeti Time." (my trademarked opening line)
I am so excited to be broadcasting today, seated as I am on the stage of the Chautauqua Building, located in the center of the Park and Fairgrounds, smack dab in the middle of our fair city. In lieu of a weather report, I'd rather describe to you the atmosphere of the astounding event about to transpire.
The Chautauqua Building is a gathering place. A large white wooden structure, octagonal in shape, with a spire pointing to the heavens. It is an open air arena surrounded by tall screened windows welcoming to the elements, regardless of the season. The wind whistles to and fro across the interior space lined with spacious white wooden tables, seating available for the few or the many. At the front a large raised stage.
The Chautauqua Building is the centerpiece of the riverfront park. Outside, walking west, a rutted path leads to an oval track and the grandstands. A similar foot worn path lies to the east, parallel to the winding river. A small log cabin sits near the bridge, a historical reminder to this our town and its simple beginnings. A badge of honor to the farmers and the settlers, the first gardeners to till this soil, to plant their seeds and to reap the abundance of Mother Nature's bounty.
If you are very very still, you can hear the pounding hooves of the trotters racing past the grandstands. The roar of the crowd. You can hear the swish swish of long, hand-made dresses and the giggles of children running about. You can smell the tobacco from the pipes of the men lined up along the rails, dollar bills in hand.
Follow the path and peek in the screened windows. The tables are lush with homemade pies and cakes, covered dishes, jars of pickles, corn, jams and jellies. The aroma of freshly baked bread and muffins. The scraping of chairs as the families settle in for a good feed and a chance for conversation. Children dance in pairs on the stage, older boys and young girls cast fleeting glances under their eyelashes. Later, as the night air cools, a small band will take to the stage and the dancing will begin.
Or perhaps, reuniting families will gather together for a group photo. And at last, as the stars begin to twinkle, people will head outdoors into the moonlight, spread their blankets and lie quietly under the night sky. Babies lulled to sleep in their mother's arms and tuckered toddlers resting their heads on their grandparents laps as they slip into slumber. The only sound is the river splashing over the rocks below the bridge and the cicadas singing in the boughs of the trees overhead.
A gathering place. We are gathered. The Yard Yetis are gathered here in this place. How? How did this happen? This reunion. This drawing together of the most mysterious and elusive creatures on earth?
I have a big mouth.
I shot my mouth off a few weeks ago, about missing letters in the mailbox. Pen pals. Friends keeping touch over long distances. Cards and notes and messages and conversation and communication and talking and sharing...you know...my stream of consciousness ramblings. My feathered friend Pepper has the same addiction to uncontrolled and over the top commentary. Hence the Bleep button I keep very close to me while we are on the air. Not to mention the 10 second delay...just in case...of...a slip...a hiccup.
But today? Today?
Today I am almost speechless at the sight before me. A gathering of Yard Yetis. From all over the world. An unprecedented and highly unusual sighting of the most mysterious and magnificent women representing Mother Nature's gardens from tropical rain forests, to the rolling desert dunes, from high atop the mountain ranges of South America to the tundra of the Siberian Plains, as far away as Finland, from the ivy covered cottages in the Cotswolds, the ebony edges of volcanic beaches in the South Pacific, as far as Tasmania and as close as the Flint Hills of Kansas.
Eunice Everlasting, the most highly esteemed Yard Yeti Emeritus, felt sorry for me, so she sent out a signal, heard only by Yard Yetis in the wild, and the response was overwhelming. Virtually overnight, the fairgrounds filled with the beauty and wonder of bouquets of beautiful women, dressed in native garb and features framed in frilled foliage.
Gertrude Golden Wattle from Australia, Shannon Shamrock from Ireland. Trudy Tudor Rose from the UK. Candace Camellia from Alabama. Astrid Apple Blossom from California. Tillie Tulip from Holland. Olivia Ox-Eye Daisy from Latvia. Sadie Saguaro Cactus Blossom from Arizona. Tessa Thistle from Scotland. Rita Rosa from Ecuador. Imogene Iris from France. Lolita Lily Of the Valley from Finland. Corky Columbine from Colorado. Janey Jasmine from Paraguay. Dora Daffodil from Wales. Stella Sunflower from the Ukraine. Misty Mountain Laurel from Connecticut. Petunia Plum Blossom from China. Myrtle Maple Leaf of Canada. Cassie Camomile from Russia. Flora Flame Lily of ZImbabwe. Ophelia Orange Blossom from Florida. Just to name a few of the petal-packing treasures seated before me.
Lush, languid, loud, luminous and luscious ladies all.
Bleep! Bleep! Bleep! Ouch! Pepper rudely interrupted my reverie with a nasty reminder that I neglected to mention the birds. His flock. The birds of a feather that flocked together. His international counterparts. Because, yes, dear friends, no decent Yard Yeti is ever fully dressed without a twittering companion riding shotgun. While the air is fragrant with the scent of wildflowers, the air is replete with the song and chatter of the birds of paradise.
Petey the Perky Peregrine, the Divine Davina Dove, Mad Marty the Magpie, William Woodpecker, Esq., Thomasino the Talking Toucan, Kenneth Kiss-Me Kistrel, Ricky the Romancing Raven, Gerry the Giant Ibis, Wild Warren the Whooper Swan, Ollie the Ogling Owlet, Walter the HandWringing Wren, and Andre the Andrean Cock-Of-the-Rock.
Andre and Pepper are now engaged in a wing wrestling, beak poking frenzy over which of them is , uh, well, more physically endowed. Andre is in the gold trunks and Pepper is the one in the saggy baggy shorts with the flask tucked in the back. This may not end well.
While the testy testosterone tweeters tussle outside, let's return to the scene before me.
Tables filled with treats and tastes of chocolate. Elaborate florals and yellow wellies...everywhere. Pompous pompadours. Brilliant costumes in every color and hue. Each and every countenance punctuated by the same ...o...o...o...o...o....o...o...oh my oh my oh my...o...o...o...o..no need for translation or interpretation...the "o" as in wonder.
Yard Yeti Women speak a common language
The language of the garden. Mother Nature's tongue.
Yard Yeti Women are opulent, stately and majestic fashionistas.
The fashion of the garden. Mother Nature's palette.
Once everyone settles in, the fun begins with a duck race on the river. Each of the Yetis gets a numbered plastic yellow duck. We troop together down the rutted path to the bridge. Nellie Nasternium signals the start with the ringing of a bell and all the Yetis drop their ducks into the river at the same time. Pandemonium ensues as the women race along the riverbank headed toward the finish line. A flash of yellow as Fifi- Forget-Me-Not holds the winning duck high over her head. And the winner is...
Ida Impatiens. Who else?
Immature. Impertinent. Impudent. Impulsive. Indignant. In-A-Hurry-Toe-Tapping-Tsk-Tsk-Tsk-Tsking Terror. C'mon. C'mon. C'mon. Ida.
All the Yard Yetis smile as one. Forgiving. A state of grace. These women of every age and every nation know the importance of acceptance and the practice of patience.
Once the race is won and the dinner din dies down, the sun starts to sink into the horizon. The Yetis gather their blankets and wander out into the park. A satellite photo of their bodies, head to head and toe to toe, boots on the ground, would appear as a crazy quilt. A patchwork of color. A seamless breathtaking landscape.
We practiced for this moment.
In the pool learning the Yard Yeti Synchronized Swim Team routines.
In the garden, Yard Yetis whispering sweet nothings to reluctant bloomers.
In the Yard Yeti University Extension Office studying manuals and attending seminars on how to identify pests and critters as friend or foe. (Note: There is still a bit of controversy in this area...but the general philosophy is live and let live..we tend to argue about the cowardly no-see-ums. )
I am lying here ,while Pepper, sipping on an after dinner cocktail, is perched on my shoulder, and I whisper into the microphone.
How...how do I describe what is happening here? How do I impart to you the significance of this festival, the sea of eager, expectant, itching, yearning, ardent faces facing skyward?
The ringing of bells.
The sound only Yard Yetis perceive.
A beckoning call.
An away-with-the-fairies assortment of the women of the garden. Under the night sky, where no matter our geographical coordinates, by simply raising our eyes to the sky, opening our hearts, we are as now, holding each others hands.
Hands rough and calloused from Yard Yeti work. The work of tending to, taking care, mending, feeding, healing, building, sowing, reaping, supporting, meeting, greeting and letting go.
The women who teach. The women who do. The women who have no time for snark and divisiveness. These are women with a job to do. A garden that needs tending.
The ones who champion the right to vote and use it.
The ones who march for freedom not just for the exercise, but all the way to the finish line.
The women who want a simple life, in a world where nothing is simple.
The women with the courage to get up each day despite the floods, the famine or drought, because they know that together, there will be a harvest.
The Yard Yetis are women who help each other up, rather than putting others down.
In the Yard Yeti Garden, everyone is welcome. The initiation fee is good behavior. The motto: Practice before you preach.
The time has come when we must say our good-byes. One by one, a Yard Yeti rises from her blanket, puckers her mouth into a tiny o...focuses on a star...and slips right through...to the other side...and beyond.
You see, stars are imposters.
They are not twinkling objects, or reflected light.
...Each Yeti has her own star. Her own infinitesimal entrance into the universe. A celestial gateway to the true light, the light behind the stars. You may think you see a falling star, but truly, that is just a novice Yard Yeti, making her first run, and missing the target. What you don't see, are the older, seasoned and reasoned Yetis, lining up into a constellation, one dot of light after another, pointing the way...
The Chautauqua Building is closed for the night.
Time for me to lean into the microphone and say...
You may think this is just an old wives tale.
Just a grass roots movement.
A story for the birds.
Me leading you down the garden path.
Well...when all those magnificent Yard Yetis vanished into thin air...
Or maybe he just passed out.
Are you a Yard Yeti yet?
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