Over the past weekend, an annual event called Fetes de Petites Cotes, or Festival of the Little Hills, was held in St. Charles, Missouri. It's a sort of craft vendor, food booth, entertainment extravaganza that goes on Friday through Sunday, always in mid-August. Tens of thousands troop to downtown St. Charles to buy cute little doo-dads and stuff themselves on kettle corn and every other type of fried, baked, or frozen food imaginable.
I visited on Saturday. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. Instead of the typical 100+ degrees with humidity like a sauna, temps were in the low 80's and felt like fall. Thus the anticipated huge crowd grew to gargantuan proportions. Many things (such as the frozen wine booth owner merrily giving away free samples to anyone who put out a hand) were impossible to get near.
Along with shoulder to shoulder people, dogs were everywhere. I'll bet 1 out of 10 people had a dog on a leash. Of course, I liked that better than the 3 out of 10 people who brought a stroller the size of a mini-van. It's awfully hard to squeeze around one of those contraptions. Like there wasn't enough already to keep me away from the frozen wine booth. Ugh.
Anyway, I grumbled and shuffled around looking for something to catch my eye, when I suddenly saw it.
This lady and her pet macaw drew a lot of attention. According to one of the Main Street shop owners, she and the bird spend time hanging out in the area nearly every day. The beautiful macaw appeared to be completely unruffled by tons of people, pointing fingers, and gushing comments. He was one cool customer.
It made me stop and think. If Mr. Macaw can take this mass of human craziness in stride, why can't I? So I decided to release my inner crabbiness like a child's helium balloon into the blue summer sky, count to ten, and watch it float away.
I slowed down my pace and stopped trying to dodge around people. When the foot traffic became a traffic jam, I smiled at those around me. They smiled back. It felt pretty good.
You know, that's one of the things I really love about the Festival. You just never know who you're going to see and what you're going to learn.