Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween in the Woods!

Using a State Park for Your Next Halloween Party

Last year I decided to host a birthday party on Halloween for a hobby group to honor a special guest. Because of some problems with my house due to a landslide, which is another horror story of its own, I had to find the perfect spot. I found it at a local state park!
Many state parks have shelters where you can have picnics, and some of those have fire places. I reserved a shelter with two picnic tables and a fireplace and brought a couple of lawn chairs as did some of the other guests, so we had ample seating for our group. We met at 6:00 PM right as darkness fell. Our shelter was a little remote, in a small meadow surrounded by woods, so it was picturesque by day but quite spooky at night, and dark, very dark!
To combat the darkness, we all brought lanterns and candles which we put around the shelter, hanging some and placing others on the tables. The fireplace also cast a warm glow on the festivities, so the effect was very pleasant. There were no electrical outlets, so we did everything by candlelight and lamplight. We did bring a battery-operated CD player so we could have music appropriate to our gethering in the background.
Since our group is a historical group, we all came in period costume, so the lamplight was perfect for the effect we were trying to create. I brought my collection of pewter serving trays, another member brought some crock and pottery serving dishes, so we tried to keep our event a "period" event without being too arbitrary about it.
The results were amazing. It was dark enough and spooky enough to feel like Halloween. The accessories and lack of electricity made us feel like we were back in "ye olden days." And the warmth of the fireplace and the friendships made us feel cozy and secure in the middle of that big, dark woods. We even had a raccoon come up to the shelter to beg for food during the party. Our party last year was so much fun we are doing it again this year!
For your next Halloween gathering, consider a state park. Check right away to find out if sites are available and what the reservation policies are. Most state parks don't allow alcoholic beverages and may have other restrictions, but with the right accessories and costumes and a little planning, you can create an entirely different world for your party.

Free Tacos Today!


Taco Bell Corp. is tapping into the national pastime with a completely Outside the Bun idea: During any game of the 2008 World Series championship (the “Games”) a stolen bases means a free taco for America! Since a base was stolen, anyone can get a free Crunchy Seasoned Beef Taco today at Taco Bell between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. (local time). So go get your free taco TODAY, America! Details at Taco Bell.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mayberry Days' Spirit Not Dampened by Drizzles

2008 Mayberry Days a Success in Spite of Rain

My 2008 Mayberry Days experience was not dampened this year in spite of rains that would not go away! Hurricane Kyle was inconsiderate enough to send drizzles to Mount Airy, North Carolina, most of the day Thursday through Saturday. However, by late Saturday afternoon the rains ended, and Sunday was beautiful for our drive home.

Mount Airy, North Carolina, is the childhood home of Andy Griffith, and one of the primary inspirations for the fictitious town of Mayberry. Every year the town hosts Mayberry Days during the last full weekend of September, and the picturesque town tucked into the foothills of the mountains of northern North Carolina is overrun by fans of "The Andy Griffith Show."
You can't get more Americana than Mayberry Days! Mayberry Days consists of pie eating contests, checkers tournaments, Mayberry trivia contests, bluegrass music, Mayberry memorabilia for sale, skits and impersonators, and a big parade down Main Street. Actress Chevy Anz did her superb Daphne impression for the Mayberry Days parade, tribute artist Barney Woods earned high marks for his dead-on impersonation of Barney Fife, and Goober impersonator Tim Pettigrew was an enthusiastic, crowd-pleaser.
One of my personal highlights was book signings for the poetry book The Mayberry Poem - A Tribute to Mayberry at Mayberry on Main. If you love poetry and Mayberry, you will love this book.
Every time I turned around, I was eating delicious meals with friends at local Mount Airy eateries like the world-famous pork chop sandwich at Snappy Lunch, Pandowdy's, and Sagebrush. I think we ate three times at Goobers out on Highway 52 with its delicious sandwiches, salads, and entrees! Good food, good company, good times - Hurricane Kyle sure didn't dampen our Mayberry Days spirits or appetites much!
I made it all the way from Nashville, Tennessee to Mount Airy, North Carolina with no trouble finding gas although there were rumors of gas shortages throughout the trip. Prices ranged from $3.99 in Nashville to $3.39 in Knoxville, and around $3.69 in NC. With gas prices high, reports of gas being hard to find, and the rains, Mayberry Days attendance was definitely down this year, but I have no regrets about going. It may have been wet on the outside, but I think we all felt warm on the inside at Mayberry Days.

Another Mayberry Days Article

I had another article about Mayberry Days published at this link. If you just cannot get enough information about Mayberry Days 2008, please go take a look!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Christian Poets Pen Blog/Zine

I am pleased to announce the publication of Christian Poets Pen, a new blog and zine right here on Blogger for poets who write Christian poetry or poetry from a Christian perspective. Christian Poets Pen began as a bi-monthly newsletter in the early 1990s, continued as a page on ChristianActivities.com, and now at last is a poetry blog & zine on the web!

If you write Christian poetry, use the comments section at Christian Poets Pen to post a poem. If you have a tip or news of interest to Christian poets, you can also use the comments to post information.

Visit Christian Poets Pen for details!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Halloween Poem -- A Halloween Acrostic

I have a Halloween poem up on Associate Content that is a different look at the ghosts which haunt us.

It was an October AC challenge to write a Halloween acrostic poem and my personal challenge to write it from a Christian perspective and to avoid the usual reference to witches, vampires and other demonic elements, but keep it somewhat dark.

If you would like to read it, check out my Halloween Acrostic.

H aunted by memories 
A nother cold October night 
L onely under the harvest moon 
L ooking at the ghosts of my past 
O nly the undead as my companions 
W e wander the vacant corridors 
E very memory refuses to leave 
E maciated wraiths that won't die 
N eeding my blood for their feast.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Obama Limerick

Another October 2008 AC challenge -- to write a lymerick about Obama.

A Candidate Ran Named Obama

A candidate ran named Obama
Some said he had ties with Osama
I don't know about that
But I would place my bet
His good looks might appeal to yo mama.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Discounted Books?

I just received a letter from one of the submitting poets asking if he could get a discount since three of his poems were published in the the Mayberry poetry book (actually, only two were published; we declined one). Don't get me wrong -- usually I am the person negotiating for a discount! However, I have had people raise eyebrows at the cost of the books before. I think shoppers are used to buying trade paperbacks with lots of pages for $7.99. They look at a book which is larger but with fewer pages and think the $12.99 price tag is high. To put things in perspective, I sent him the following note.

Actually, more poems = more formatting and more pages printed = more cost to print, so the more poems I run from one person, the more they have increased my costs. That's one reason many publications charge a "reading fee" or "submission fee" for each poem submitted. The $12.95 covers the cost of compiling, editing, formatting, layout, binding, trimming, printing, and publishing, as well as the costs to ship to me and the cost for envelopes and postage to ship to you, most of which money goes to the publisher, Staples and the Post Office, not to me.

Also, The Mayberry Poem - A Tribute to Mayberry and How to Promote Your Book are printed in small runs numbered in the hundreds, not thousands like drug store paperback books, so the cost per book is higher. And since I only have 7 left from my first order, I am not highly motivated to discount!

Next time you see a Hallmark card which is one sheet of paper folded twice with one poem and a couple of illustrations on it for $5.99, just think - for the price of two of those plus a couple of bucks, you would have paid for a book with over 200 poems and 45 illustration!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Leaves of October - a Fall Poem

I love the cooler weather October brings, the bright blue sky and the colorful falling leaves. The sight of fall leaves spinning in an October breeze always makes me want to dance with them! This is a poem in celebration of autumn and the beauty of October leaves:
The Leaves of October 
Oh, I want to dance with the leaves of October
That merrily twirl in the air,
To blend with the yellow, the reds, and the golds of them.
To dance in the wind without care.

And I want to run in the warm Autumn sun,
Skip under the azure blue sky,
To drift with the breeze among billowing leaves,
Rejoicing that I am alive.
So let me forget the cold chill of November
While October still is with me.
Too soon come the rains and the long, dreary winter nights,
Too quickly laid barren the trees.
Oh, I want to dance with the leaves of October
Before summer's warmth must depart.
Lord, let me lay hold of their red, brown, green, gold
And treasure their dance in my heart.
© Kathryn Darden. All rights reserved