We took the dogs to the park early but could not stay. The overbearing heat and sun with no cloud-breaks was not good for any of the four of us. If you’re not familiar with what heat does to someone with MS…it turns us into slugs. Slow moving, weak, fuzzy thinking and really hard to get motivated.
So, we went home until the Carnation Centennial Potluck and photo-shoot at Tolt-McDonald Park started. That, I must say, was a riot. We enjoyed hanging out with the neighbors, ate some good food, watched some silly and enormously fun games and got to walk under a fire truck hose misting. It reminded me of going to my family reunions back in the southeast where good food, conversation and fond memories were generated.
My dogs were not there, though I did see one or two others with their pooches. Carnation is one of the friendliest dog places I know. Mine are still not quite socialized enough though. Our dog park has helped enormously in that area and I’ve had comments on what a remarkable change it has made on Molly, particularly. She is much more comfortable around strangers…not comfortable enough where I would stroll her on her leash to a city picnic. I’ve often admired those owners who have helped rescue dogs become that trusting and comfortable around people.
The town did a really nice job on this celebration, with the Slider’s crowd providing music, and the town even running team games like the 3-leg race, egg relays. There was also a drop the clothespin in the bottle game I had never seen in my life. Speaking of things I have never seen, I enjoyed watching a kid toss this huge flying disk. Now this may be as common as dirt for others but I had not seen it before!
Some showed a method to the madness of a 3-leg race, getting a considerable lead on the others, while watching the egg-relay was hysterical. I wish there had been a sportscaster who knew everyone’s names calling out a moment by moment. If they ever do this race again, I’m going to have to suggest that. One of our city council members showed an apt for dropping clothes pins into milk bottles. It was impressive! I watched him do this twice. I hope you can see the clothes pin in mid-air in front of his left pants leg. I was rather proud of that shot!
And the music was great! Carnation is lucky enough to have Marty and his wife Phyllis running Sliders Café and it really looked like Marty and the other musicians had fun jamming in the shade. We sure enjoyed listening to them.
It can be these very simple Carnation celebrations that allow me to enjoy our town instead of moving out to some of the larger suburban areas on the east-side. Don’t get me wrong, I spent all my childhood in the suburbs and loved our neighborhoods. Cul-de-sac block parties and our little Muscular Dystrophy carnivals for Jerry’s kids we neighborhood children put on are some of my fondest memories. The suburbs can be a wonderful places to raise a child. But a small town like Carnation has its own charm and perks and quite frankly, is a dying breed.
What makes a small town perfect has so many visions for people and they can come from completely different perspectives.
Some just think it is a population number, others want a rural feel, without the muck, many want to see the stars at night, some want the rural feel, muck and all. Others want convenience or simplicity. Many just want cheaper housing, or want to get away from larger city traffic. Unfortunately, that attitude can often bring in a dreaded suburban sprawl that not only ruined much of the southeast but is now creeping into so many of the small towns on the eastside.
I really don’t want to see Carnation turned into just another bedroom suburb with a small town façade and suburban core. Watching small towns in the Southeast lose their identities as they grew into just another suburb was incredibly depressing. A small town like Carnation is very precious and increasingly rare. Once they are gone, it it too late to turn it back. Cookie-cutter houses, townhouses and vertical apartment growth, fast food and box stores, more and more sports complexes, all creep in as the charm creeps out.
A sad thing happens when economics make it easy to try and trump quality of life. There is a fine line between the two perspectives but the results are very different. And it all goes back to what you think a small town should be like. I think our centennial showed a perfect small town and it’s one I really love living in.
For more pictures of our Carnation Centennial celebration, I put them in a set on FlickR. Enjoy!