Saturday, June 30, 2007
by Muriel Fahrion
I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain..rain…rain…. but I never thought I’d see water over the bridge.* No that’s not like it supposed to go. We were supposed to be celebrating the Park’s 99th birthday today. As we gathered at the Park Tavern Friday night I noted that the dress for the night included wearing your heart on your sleeves. You couldn’t ignore as the waters, of usually tranquil Medicine Creek, as they thundered passed at deck level. (Normally you would be looking down at the Creek but not this night.) Sure there was randomness of chatter you would expect to find on a Friday night; Tupperware parties, washboard music festivals, dog philosophy and grandkid comparisons, but the undercurrent was flood watch. Our mayor atypically sitting alone at a table, having been at it all day accessing the situation, safeguarding what and who he could, he was just plain exhausted. Several people asked if we caught the wild water in pics. We had not. As wended our way through the trafficked streets on our weekly routine to collect the latest and a beer, we noted all the curious onlookers armed with cameras ready to capture the trauma drama in digital format. So we let them. (Shirley Copeland's Slide Show).....(Kristal's Slide Show)
What can I tell you about the mood…the Creek, the bridge, the dams, the swimming hole, the cobblestones, the old hotel are also considered our neighbors and our friends. A geologist informed me that this creek has run through this place for about 250 million years. And I have to believe that this is the highest it’s been in 250 million years. Oklahoma is not a place you curse the rain, not while it is still haunted by Dust Bowl memories.
Tomorrow I have my Will Roger art assemblage in a "Soul of the Great Plains" at the Great Plains Museum/ Leslie Powell so it is fitting to end this post with some wisdom from that incomparable Oklahoman…
“The best way out of a difficulty is through it.”
Picture courtesy © 2007 Clark Brown Creative
Friday, June 22, 2007
by Muriel Fahrion
Don't it always seem to go
Even when I stepped away from the Park, 1200 miles in fact, little reminders of home sprung up in the strangest of places. In Rocky River, Ohio a charming upscale Cleveland suburb on the Lake Erie coast, afforded me one of those reminders. I was lucky enough to tour a collector’s home. She collected mostly artifacts from childhoods past, nursery rhyme bowls, silver spoons, cast iron dollhouse furniture etc. dating from 1890's through 1930's. Among her minor collection were Dionne Quintuplets memorabilia. (This is where the connection to the Park comes in…) Hidden away from the main thoroughfare is our own little group of cottages named after the Quints. The cottages are owned by Dora who inherited them from her parents. Les said he repainted the names on because they had faded. They were renters at one time but are no longer used. The Dionne Quints (the first surviving quintuplets born in North America) were born in 1934 so the cottages may have already existed and were renamed or they were built in the 30's either way they are worth noting.
I promised the home owner, Emilie, that I would send her photos of the cottages. Strangely enough Emilie Cottage is spelled incorrectly (Emile) nevertheless I am sure she will add my photos to her collection and how they look in 2007 will exist in photographs. I can only hope the actual structures resist the ravages of time. It seems that other cobblestone structures in the Park are miraculously resurrected by folks who fall in love with them.
We were in the Hocking Hills area of Ohio on the Washboard Music Festival Days in Logan, OH, home of the last Washboard factory in the United States. (Logan and surrounds is home to both Mennonites and Amish who still use washboards.) With laundry lines strung across the streets they were celebrating their uniqueness as should all small towns if they are lucky enough to have uniqueness. If Medicine Park’s claim to fame is their cobblestones I asked myself, shouldn't we have a Cobblestone Festival? Thanks to some inventive folks there will be cobblestone bowling for the Birthday celebration and then there is Madame Sees-all who has substituted a cobblestone for her crystal ball during the Buffalo Elixir Medicine Show.
There is ample enthusiasm in Medicine Park but a but with such a small population and not much funds to ask for another festival is not reasonable no less asking the town to save the cobblestones but you can’t fault me wishing it.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Chance McQuacken© Marauder Duck is now a Tshirt! Recently I have found myself creating NEW characters for our local businesses and causes Chance McQuacken© is the newest and you won’t get him anywhere else. As the group Shriekback once sang “Every dream turns into something on a Tshirt”. Created exclusively by me for the Medicine Park Birthday Duck Race put on every year by our own Zany, Charley Wright. Perhaps you saw him at the Tavern Raft Race. How could not notice a man with a duck on his head! Anyway he was sporting the new design. And you have an opportunity to order it before the June 30th Medicine Park Birthday celebration! The price is $12. All profits benefit a charity of Charley’s list of charities. I forgot to ask him which one this time but you can ask when you stop by the Charley’s Angel Shop in Medicine Park and see the design.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
By Muriel Fahrion
Well, I wish I was on some
Wichita mountain range.
Oh, I wish I was on some
Wichita mountain range.
I got no reason to be there, but I
Imagine it would be some kind of change.
(with apologies to Bob Dylan)
Last night at a friendly back porch gathering our little group mused about the common link of those who live in the Park. What was it in their history that pulled them into the Vortex that is Medicine Park? Those subjects that often divide people on sides, religion and politics, are present in the Park, and unless folk are in a particularly spunky mood or in some isolated conclave, they should be avoided. It isn’t birthplace because I can over a dozen states from which the current populace sprang: Kentucky, Kansas, Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, New York, California, Texas, Indiana, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Louisiana. So then what are the elements?
Love of music. Note the number of events in the Park that come with musical accompaniment or are strictly musical events. Now tastes differ and everyone has their preferences there is more tolerance in our musical acceptance than there will ever be in our political differences. As another one of my admittedly skewed surveys I queried my “subjects” at the Tavern on the first album they ever purchased. It helped that majority of us land in the “baby boomer” category but odds heavily favored Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited; that landmark album that put him into the rebel category. Could it be that rebellious nature is a common thread? Not only is there a love for listening to music there is musical ability that flows through Park. Guitarists tend to gather at a drop of pick. Porches of the Park resonate with strumming and voices after a days activities.
Hand in hand comes the love for drama or more succinctly the love for the dramatic. My delving into the childhood exploits and ambitions of other Parkies found that as children we aspired to be deejays, actors, a dancers, musicians and a stand up comedians. This aspiration fulfillment is apparent in local productions of Perils of the Park, the Medicine Park Marauders, and the Medicine Show drama but in other guise can be found in our resident Santa, Halloween parties, Polar Bear Plunge, Easter Bunny visit, Bill Wallace tours, Raft Race (note the most recent featured the blues brothers, an Egyptian barge and a clown around) and anything else you can wrap a costume, an act or a theme around.
Maybe the strongest trait is the rebellious independence that you are likely to encounter on any bend on the Creek which is not only tolerated but celebrated. Unlike places where you have to challenge people to come up with innovative thinking, asking for ideas in the Park is like opening our flood gates on the Creek. Sometimes you have to wait for the waters to recede. Ideas that would have been deemed too far out of the box or even downright kooky in the bigger world are given the time of day and allowed to flourish. . And as Bob Dylan put it “I have a head full of ideas that are driving me insane”. That freedom to think and explore is apparent for those who chose the Park from the first time they visit the Park.
Friday, June 1, 2007
For those readers who are unfamiliar with the Medicine Park Marauders we are a group that re-enacts old West style shootouts. I use “style” because our shows are done with a twist of humor where no one gets shot, not even the villains. It was once said; "We are hysterical and not historical." that fits our group pretty well. For instance one of our signature bits tells of the law trying to arrest one of the outlaws after a shootout for littering empty cartridges in the street. Our aim (all puns intended) is to create good fun and with our antics to draw people to Medicine Park.
When I don my costume for my role as U. S. Marshall Cameron Payne, Oklahoma, Territory, I endeavor to be as authentic to the 1890s West as possible despite the old style button pants, and non-elastic suspenders which make for a cumbersome trip to the outhouse. I am aware any hard-core reenactor would find fault with my outfit, but the look works for me. When I am in costume have I become someone else, especially when our show starts. For me, the crowd disappears and only the other Marauders, and our occasional victims pulled in from the audience, remain. I am for a brief instant an old West gun slinger, the fear of being caught in the spotlight goes away and I am transported from my everyday existence.
My biggest kick is seeing the wide eyed looks from the kids in the audience. Before and after our shows we hand out plastic badges (when I remember to bring some) to kids as we walk around town. The proud smiles and high strutting steps of a newly deputized young boy or girl is wonderful. It brings to mind the time Muriel and I flew back to Cleveland, Ohio for our son's graduation from college. We wore our western gear (boots, hat and drover's coats) and as we walked through the Cleveland Airport a kid went running to his mother, pulled her arm and pointed to us saying; "Look Mom! Real cowboys!"
I've always been a cowboy at heart, since that first cowboy outfit and pair of cap guns I received for my 7th birthday. Although my outfit is lot less 1950's TV/Movie style and my guns are real and loaded with blanks instead of a roll of paper caps, I am that kid again.