Writing Challenge: You’re told that an event that’s dear to your heart — an annual fair, festival, or conference — will be cancelled forever (or taken over by an evil organization). Write about it. For your twist, read your piece aloud, multiple times. Hone that voice of yours!
I slammed the Covered Bridge Crier down on our back deck and ran into the house.
“Kevin, did you read this?”
Kevin had just finished taking the rolls out of the oven and was in the middle of resting them on the counter. I stopped talking momentarily to catch a whiff of the delightful aroma of butter and yeast, before I continued my rant.
“Monsanto is sponsoring our annual corn festival!”
“And?” said Kevin, waving his hand back and forth over the large sheet of twenty-four golden-crusted rolls.
“And?!” I replied as I plopped down at the kitchen table not believing my ears. Kevin was usually the one to get upset about any changes to our small town. His family was among the four families who founded the town after the Civil War. Covered Bridge had it’s share of disasters and barely made it through the Great Depression, but it held on to become one of the few towns still in existence founded by ex-slaves. Though the name and the racial makeup changed over time, there were still markers and historical monuments recognizing and honoring the sacrifices of the four families who pioneered our town.
“I am surprised to hear you say that. Monsanto is the devil!” I exclaimed.
“Now hold on, they’re just sponsoring the event and besides, honey, its just corn.” Kevin tried to explain.
“According to reports circulating on the Internet, most of our corn has been genetically modified with a toxin called bt. This bt. corn, developed by Monsanto is registered with the EPA as a pesticide. How’s that for just corn?”
“Hon, you’re overreacting,” said Kevin, enjoying a mouth full of the buttery roll.
“Overreacting? Our town was built by corn—that’s our major crop! You knew about this, didn’t you?” I asked.
“No,” Kevin said, swallowing hard.
“Kevin, you work at the paper–“
“I edit the sports section,” he replied.
I didn’t say anything. I just glared at him.
“Oh, all right,” he relented, “I knew, of course I knew. I just didn’t think it was a big deal. They assured us the corn they want to grow in our fields will be tastier, more nutritious and pesticide free.”
“So now not only do they want to sponsor our annual festival, they want to grow those fake things in our fields!” It was like I had just entered a circus nightmare and my husband was the ringmaster.
“Your forefathers are rolling over in their graves!” I shouted and then I grabbed a roll and shoved it in my mouth. Darn, those things were good!
“Honey, my forefathers were all about survival. The town council met last week and it was unanimous vote. Our town needs Monsanto. We won’t last another five years without them,” Kevin replied and I knew that was all he was going to say about the matter. So I stomped over to the kitchen sink to do the dishes.
I slapped on the dishwashing soap and angrily scrubbed the pots. How had all of this slipped past my notice? Our town was changing right before my eyes and there was nothing I could do about it. That’s what happens when you live fifteen minutes from Main Street, I reasoned. I scrubbed harder and the more I thought about it, the angrier I became.
The Covered Bridge council had essentially traded the quaintness of our small town corn festival for future big corporate events–no more handmade banners, no more eight foot tables draped with red and white checkered table cloths, no more corn shucking contests, floats and parades featuring the Covered Bridge Corn Queen. No, instead they’ll be fancy booths, vendors, sound stages, corporate signage, people dressed in t-shirts that say, “security,” tourists, food trucks and endless rows port o’ potties!
I heard the chirping sound of a bird outside my window and wondered what genetic monster it would become once it got a hold of those radioactive kernels.
I put down my dish rag and stared out my kitchen window past our deck that needed repair, the old above ground pool half filled with water and our unpainted picket fence to the vast rows of corn swaying underneath the blue Kansas sky. I wiped a tear from my cheek and then I turned to Kevin and made this declaration:
“I will NOT be going to the annual corn festival any more Kevin–and you can finish the dishes!”
And that was my last word on the matter.