Friday, March 18, 2011

Three of My Favorite Letters - P, B and J

This post was originally published on November 12, 2010. I'm not feeling so hot today and this post just has a "feel good" component to it. What's not to like about P B and J? :)

I was goofing around looking for a subject to post about this morning and actually came across a few neat things quite by accident, so I figured what the heck, go ahead and do a story about one of them?

Small towns in East Texas always have the best local festivals anywhere. We have previously talked about the East Texas Yamboree in Gilmer and today we'll check out another local festival in rural Texas.
Our stop will be a place I visited a thousand times as a kid - Grand Saline. And, yes, the "saline" part of the name means salt. There's a huge salt deposit in the area and it is currently being mined by Morton Salt. This year the inaugural The Great American Peanut Butter Festival will be held in Grand Saline and the featured attraction will be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich being put together by area residents. This is no ordinary pb and j, however. By the time all is said and done, this sandwich will weigh more than 950 pounds! A new World Record! From the festival's website we get a little inside information on what it takes to build a 950 pound pb and j, "We expect the process to take most of the day", says sandwich builder Keith Parsons. "We'll have to wait for the dough to rise, bake the bread in a large oven and then finally we'll spread the peanut butter and jelly onto the bread with long boat oars". And what would a Peanut Butter Festival be without naming a Peanut Butter Queen? Fear not! A Peanut Butter Queen will be named! I just wander if they'll name a Jelly Queen, too?
Community events such as the Great American Peanut Butter Festival make me realize how much I miss living in East Texas. This festivals may seem to be a little silly to some folks, but not to me. I participated in literally thousands of local events like the PB & J Festival when I was a Radio Guy and I always took something home with me after being a part of the festivities. Things that stick out in my mind are: 1) How much time and effort goes into putting together an event such as this one. Countless hours are put in by people volunteering their time to do something beneficial to the community. Then there's the sigh of relief when the whole thing is over with. Once the festival is over, these same people immediately start thinking about how to make it better for next year. Now, that's dedication. 2) The sounds of children echoing throughout the town square. You can't beat that. 3) The write up in the local newspaper. Whoever reviews these hometown events has the best job in the world for a few days. First, there's the big build up to the event itself. Then the event. And finally the recap of the happenings themselves. The pride and excitement of the event are chronicled with such excitement and pride, you'd think the local baseball team just won the World Series. 4) The aftermath. The local citizenry huddle in groups at the local diner for breakfast and/or coffee on the Monday after the festival to relive their favorite memories and to brag how their child/grand child won the pb & j sandwich eating contest in his/her age group. A good time was had by all.

I think I'll salute the Great American Peanut Butter Festival by slappin' together a pb &j and sharing it with Bailey the three year old. A good time will be had by both. :)

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