When you are a cheerful and enthusiastic volunteer, word gets around. Note: I am not now, nor have I ever been, cheerful or enthusiastic about cleaning up nasty things like fifty-year-old cow sheds. Just sayin'.
I do enjoy fibery things like spinning yarn, though, and this past weekend was a double day of just that. I got to sit on my duff, play with my spinning wheel, and talk to hordes of people. Okay, maybe 'hordes' is a little strong. There were lots of people; many of them were sipping lemonade. The sitting, spinning, and talking parts are all accurate.
I do these demonstrations on a fairly regular basis at places like the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, schools, and zoos. It's one of my very favorite things to do. I'm also available for parties, if there happens to be cake. While there wasn't any cake to be had this weekend, it was still a great time, except for one little thing. Would you like a hint? I'll give you a hint.
We're in Kansas, Toto. In June.
If you suggested that it may have been a little hot, you may go to the fridge and take your pick between the leftover enchilada or the half-can of whipped cream.
It was HOT. Beastly hot. The kind of hot where you keep feeling your face to see if your eyeballs have melted. If you are a clever tourist, you will face a hot day such as that with a hat and some loose-fitting cotton clothes. If you are somewhat more inventive, you will spend the day in your underwear, sitting in a full horse trough with six fans pointed at you. I had neither of those options. I spent Saturday in Baldwin City at the Black Jack re-enactment, chasing shade and eating fabulous oatmeal raisin cookies, dressed in... a dress. With boots, petticoat, corset, under-type things, and an apron.
Sunday was spent in the same getup (laundered), in similar heat, but at our beloved Prairie with a nice barn for shade. I essentially melted into an animated puddle.
This is the point where the guy with the cool drink and the sun hat asks me why I do this to myself. What kind of nut job would sit in the sun and talk to strangers?
It's not the fried skin and sweaty clothes that bring me back every year. It's those aforementioned strangers. The adults who come by with stories of their grandmother and her spinning wheel. The kids who want to know how fast my wheel can spin. The very little kids who give me excellent advice on the proper color for a knitted doggie sweater. And my personal favorite, the awestruck lady who asked, "And you can use it just like REAL yarn?"
Yes, Ma'am. Provided you don't pass out first.