Alligator mouth – paperweight___________

        I suppose all of us at one time or another allow ourselves to let (as we said in the Army) one’s alligator mouth overload one’s paperweight derriere. I am at the age where that does not happen much anymore but there was an occasion not long ago when I was firmly and soundly put in my place.

            My home of Greenwood, Indianahas a Freedom Festival every summer. It comes round about July 4th or thereabouts. We have a big party with fireworks and all that stuff one usually associates with Independence Day. Part of that party is a miniature fair of sorts. They set up booths in the middle school football field and all manners of folks and business set up shop to promote their wares or themselves. You might find anything from a politician’s booth to a gift shop. It’s a whole bunch of fun and I always enjoy it. 

            This one particular day at the fair was my downfall. I had agreed to help a local politician by working in his booth at the fair. My job wound up “managing” the cornhole game that they set up to get folks to stop. For those of you who are not Hoosiers, cornhole (as I understand it) is an original Hoosier game that got its start most likely on some farm somewhere. The aim is to take a little bag of corn about the size of one’s hand and chuck it into one of three holes what had been made in a piece of propped up plywood. Anyway, it was my job to get folks to stop and play a bit so the fellow running for mayor could maybe talk to them and ask for their vote. 

            I took on the role of one of those carnival barkers. You know the type. Noisy and talking a little bit of smack. Well, I was standing there waiving my little bag of corn when who did I see across the aisle working at the Chamber of Commerce booth? It wasHannah Orme, who works for the Chamber. She’s somewhere in her twenties and a bit of a country girl. I caught her attention and waived by little bag of corn at her. I clucked like a chicken and informed her that she could in no manner beat me at cornhole. It took a couple of clucks until she decided to take my challenge. 

            With the quiet grace and ease that comes so naturally to her, she got up from her chair and wandered in my direction. Without so much as a word, she picked up three bags and tossed each one into the top hole of the plywood. Continuing in her silence, she walked back over to her booth and took her seat, leaving me and my utterly destroyed ego standing in the middle of our booth. Turns out Hannah is some sort of a cornhole champion. Serves me right.

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