(Photo: The force is strong in this one. But she can't do jack about the weather.)
Marshana Sharp (left), manager of the Dade County Public Library, is pretty universally recognized as a beloved member of the community and a general force for good in the world. As for the library's Trick-or-Treat on the Square event that she and the library staff throw themselves into a frenzy planning, designing and decorating for each year, it is one of Dade County's biggest public events, bringing children and their families from miles around to gather on the square rejoicing in the golden October weather.
Or that's the theory. In practice, The Planet cannot recall one year in recent history that any golden weather got rejoiced in at the library on the last Saturday of October. Each fall, The Planet finds itself prefacing its account of
Dade's favorite party with phrases such as, "Despite the bitter cold," "Although the forecast," or "The weather didn't cooperate, but." This year The Planet started out, "In the face of driving, torrential, merciless rains," before trashing the sentence and electing to lead instead with the theory that Marshana was a serial killer in a previous life and this is her punishment.
(Photo: The theme this year was Star Wars, and the library staff went all out. This "Walker" reached to the ceiling.)
The weather was, in fact, more miserable than usual. It was rainy. It was surreally, superlatively,old-man-in-a-boat-with-two-of-every-kind-of-animal rainy. It started raining on Friday morning and kept it up hard and heavy until everyone with children or puppies was ready to become a serial killer in this life. It rained all day and all night
Friday. On Saturday it only let up enough to get parents' hopes up (and to drive people with puppies outdoors no longer caring about mud, flash floods or snipers).
Photo: One casualty of the darkened libe was The Planet's photography. But Leia & crew looked great anyway!
Still, the show went on! People who routinely fight Death Stars and death-blow budget cuts from their local school board are not fixin' to bail on account of ary old driving, torrential, merciless rain. As many booths from the square as would fit were moved inside, and the library staff and local law enforcement worked out a path for
kids waiting to get into the library that would allow the least amount of exposure.
As for the kids? As Dr. Seuss put it, they came just the same. Library staffers could not supply an exact count this year--things were a bit hectic--but said that over 1000 showed up in any case. And by all accounts, a good time was had by all.
One casualty of the aforementioned driving, torrential, merciless rains was Ms. Sharp's plan to restore the Trenton town square to its former jackolantern-encircled glory. The library was giving out free carving kits (they'd been donated by Walmart) in the hope that patrons would buy their own pumpkins, carve them, and bring them back to the library where they'd be judged in a jackolantern contest and then used to decorate the square. The Planet observed only a few brave little jackolanterns flickering away in front of the courthouse in the face of the driving, torrential, merciless rains, and library staff
reported that in fact more patrons had taken carving kits than returned jackolanterns. Oh, well! Maybe next year.
Still, the library went ahead with its jackolantern contest. The one depicted above (The Planet's camera was more reliable outdoors) won second prize. It is the work of Wyatt Austin. First prize went to Jacob Hunt, who was awarded $25, and third to Carol Brown. You can see their pumpkins on the library Facebook page. Click on the pumpkin above to get there fast--it's linked.
(Photo: The theme was Star Wars. But this is what Audrey Clark of the Bank of Dade had in her closet. Heaven knows--anything goes! )
So the event is put to bed for another year. Dade, or anyway The Dade Planet, can only hold its mouth right and hope for better weather next year. How long can this streak of meteorologial bad luck run? How many victims can Marshana's chainsaw have claimed in that former life? And how long before the kharmic laws are satisfied?
For the answer to this and other of life's mysteries, please stay tuned in to The Planet's ongoing coverage of the universe's pulsing epicenter. If you do not learn any timeless wisdom in this space, it is still the only source in Dade Count that routinely reports on the weather, cracks in the lingering blue laws, Methodist Men's luncheons and what shoes local dignitaries wear to offical functions. Happy Halloween!