A Loco Viewpoint

Fairing With Beaker

Last weekend featured the most exciting day in the Calmar's social calendar. No, not curling registration day, but something even better. It was time once more for the Calmar Fair and Mega-Market; an event much like Edmonton's Klondike Days, only ours has way better garage sales. Admittedly, the fair and parade parts are not quite as large or spectacular as Edmonton's fair, but at least we have a dunk tank for the mayor and council. (That's "dunk tank," not "drunk tank.") I don't see that Iveson guy and his municipal minions doing that.

I was looking forward to the parade this year. It was the first time in decades I’d watched a parade as I’m usually in them, not spectating. Parades stopped being as fun when I got too old to compete for candies thrown from the floats. (Cupcake put her foot down when I turned 40.) It's not that watching parades isn't fun, but being part of a parade ranks three times funner on my personal fun-o-meter. It's sort of like the difference between getting to play slow pitch baseball and having to watch from the bench. It's the difference between kissing Cupcake or watching someone else kissing Cupcake. Okay, maybe not quite like that, but you get the idea.

I wasn't sure what to do with our evil demon-spawned Shih Tzu puppy, Beaker, whom my beautiful, gentle, and astute sister, Judy, who has only nice things to say about everyone, has nicknamed, "Hell Biscuit".

Beaker is a terrific dog, but with a slight snarly streak. His idea of ‘play’ is to try and kill things; whether bouncy ball, squeaky toy or my big toe. Luckily, he’s only slightly larger than a hamster and doesn't represent the same threat bigger dogs might, like a poodle or a wiener dog. He’s still young, too; just a year old and has lots of growing up to do before he can get an education and finally strike out on his own. I feel it’s essential to expose him to new situations, but in a controlled manner, where he can't suddenly attack some unsuspecting stranger's ankle.

As a result of wanting to expand Beaker's puppy horizons, I decided to bring him with me to watch the parade, despite the throngs of people (not to be mistaken for ‘thongs of people’). I figured it would be safe enough if I put him in my nylon case with the shoulder strap I use to go uptown with him. He loves riding with his head and front paws hanging out the top, looking exceptionally cute with his foot-long tongue flapping in the breeze. Cupcake calls the case my 'puppy purse' but only because she knows it ticks me off.

On Calmar's Main Street, which doubles as a provincial highway, prior to the parade there was a crush of people. It’s always amazing to see all 2000 Calmarites jammed cheek to jowl along the main drag, compared to the three or four people per block of sidewalk usually seen on weekends. The mass was comprised of parade watchers, bargain hunters and garage sale vendors; the latter with tables set up along every square inch of the three blocks that is Calmar's commercial sector. There was a carnival atmosphere about, due to the fact that… well… there was a carnival happening. The music wafting everywhere was provided by gentlemen on the Senior’s Centre veranda who wowed the crowd with ancient, timeless ditties such as, “Turkey in the Straw.” I wondered how many in the sweltering mob noticed when they struck up, “Log Driver’s Waltz,” one of the most recognizable songs for Canadians of an entire generation. The song was made into an animated short and used as filler to shore up time during kids programming such as Junior Forest Rangers and Rocket Robin Hood. It appeared with the same frequency as, “Hinterland Who’s Who” and is as well loved. I appreciated the band for playing that slice of my childhood, although I would have settled for a slice of the pie the ladies were serving inside.

There was an amazing array of antiques at the garage sale tables lining the downtown; some were for sale and some were the customers and vendors. You could find practically anything along those three blocks, not to mention the multitude of yard sales throughout the town. Forget “Mega-Market,” it should be called Capitalism-Fest. There was everything from stunningly colourful African dresses to mechanic tools and from ancient phonographs costing lots of money to fairly new CD’s and DVD’s for cheap.

Finally, the parade started with my beloved brother, Bob, leading the way as president of the Legion. That august group had a good turnout, given most members were in Camrose working a casino, on fair weekend of all times. What dedication to duty!

Suddenly, Beaker started getting antsy and leapt from the purse, I mean stylish masculine carrying case. I feared he would sink his teeth into some poor victim’s Achilles tendon, but instead did something much worse. He assumed the tell-tale hunch of a bathroom break. I was mortified.

“No, Beaker! Bad doggy!” I snarled at him, yanking his leash.

Those around me snickered at my embarrassment. I was so glad to have warmed up the crowd for the parade floats. I grabbed Beaker and slunk off to find a patch of privacy he could use temporarily until I could dispose of the evidence. I considered my alternatives and realized going back to the laughing, aghast crowd was not among them. They’d know what the plastic bag in my hand contained.

Though sad I missed the parade, I was glad I wasn’t marching in it with Beaker. Given the same situation, I would have redlined on the, “I-wish-I-were-struck-dead-o-meter.”

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