Sunday Bookends: Trying to choose what to read next, outhouse races, and a trip to the lake

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing, and listening to.

What I/we’ve been Reading

I finished Dead Sea Conspiracy by Jerry B. Jenkins Friday and enjoyed it a lot more as I got into it. I’m still not a fan of dual timeline books but I like how this one tied the two timelines together.

I do recommend it, especially if you like speculative fiction.

I also finished the first novella in a set of novellas called The 80s Rom Com Club by a few different authors. The novellas are all light and fluffy romances about a group of women who have a club that watches old 80s movies together.  I’ll probably stretch them out and read one or two a week and read them in the evenings because they are light.

I want to start a mystery or suspense book this week so for my choices I have:

  •  What’s The Worst That Can Happen? by Donald Westlake,
  • The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz,
  • the next book in the Joe Pickett series that I don’t know the name of and am too lazy to look up,
  • or The Boomerang Clue by Agatha Christie, which I picked up at a book sale at the library in town.

Of course, by the time I post this, I could change my mind on all of my choices and choose something completely different. I’m really not sure at this point.

The Husband just finished The Identical by Scott Turrow and is reading The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie, which I found at the aforementioned book sale the morning Rushdie was stabbed. I saw the books by him, commented to the librarian about the stabbing (she then in turn asked me if I knew David McCullough had died) and then The Husband texted and asked if I found any books by him there. Weird timing.

Little Miss and I are reading Ramona, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary.

The Boy is reading War of the Worlds whenever he isn’t playing video games so he should finish that book by 2025 at this point.

What’s Been Occurring

On Monday I was prepared for a relaxed day where I would do some housework, but otherwise hide inside from what promised to be a humid, muggy day.

Then a friend sent a message and asked if the kids and I would like to go with her family to the local lake and state park we had visited at the end of June. I wanted to say ‘no’, in some ways, because the Weather Service had issued a heat advisory, but I knew it would be good for us all to get out, so I agreed.

In the end, the weather turned out not to be very hot and the predicted afternoon storms never came, even though the clouds kept threatening it.’

The kids had a blast.

My anti-social teenager even jumped into the lake with all his clothes on right before we left.

On Wednesday, Little Miss developed a sore throat and later in the day a fever. By Friday it was almost gone and on Saturday it was all the way gone. I’m not really sure what that was about. Every three or four months she seems to get a couple of days where she gets a brief sore throat, a low-grade fever and the sniffles for about three days and then moves on. Usually, it happens with weather changes so spring and fall are the worst times for it. The weather did get cooler this week, but not until after her brief illness.

The weather got so cool this week, I started thinking about fall, which I thought I was looking forward to until I thought about the lovely green leaves all falling off and it getting cold and dreary. I do like weather where I can curl up under a blanket but I also like temperatures that are just right so we can do outside activities without sweating through our clothes.

While I was outside thinking about fall I also thought about how our backyard could be a filming sight for National Geographic. Not only do we have a big woodchuck living under our shed, but she’s apparently had babies because I saw a mini-version of her run across our yard the other day. Now, in addition to trapping her, we have to trap her babies. Fun times.

The boy found a half-eaten rabbit in our yard last weekend – as in something bit it in a half and left the head. Our dog loves to chase those rabbits but she only gets as far as her lead and never catches one. She hadn’t been out there long enough to do that kind of damage so we knew it wasn’t her.

Long story short, I asked our neighbors if they had had their game camera up this year and if they had seen what was in our yard that could do that. From a quick search on the ole’ interwebs, I learned that fox, coyote, and racoon will all rip a rabbit in half and sometimes not eat all of it. It’s possible we interrupted their supper when I let the dog out that night. The neighbor had not had their camera out but they put it out this week and it appears our culprit is a fox, which doesn’t surprise us since we heard one screaming outside our house in the spring.

Luckily this summer we have not seen the skunks we saw last year. The deer have been out some, but not as much, and I finally saw a couple squirrels, which is weird because we were commenting one day recently how we don’t see squirrels here in the more rural setting when we saw them all the time when we lived in a bigger town. So far we have not heard of the bear returning since it visited our neighbor at the end of the street. Yes, we consider the houses up and down the street our neighbors. *wink*

Last night (Saturday) was the annual Outhouse Races, which we attended as a family.

I wrote about the outhouse races last year.

They are held as a charity event for the local Lions Club.

What We watched/are Watching

Continuing the Summer of Paul this week I watched half of Cool Hand Luke yesterday. I hope to finish it later today or tomorrow.

I didn’t take the time to watch any of his other movies during the week since Little Miss was so clingy and in between her clinging I had to cook dinner and work some on my book and try to figure out reels on Instagram, which I finally gave up on.

I’ll have more thoughts about Cool Hand Luke and Rachel Rachel later in the week, but I will say that I didn’t like to see John Walton being treated so poorly in Cool Hand Luke. One of the men was portrayed by the same actor who played John Walton, the patriarch on The Waltons.

Wayne Rogers, who played McIntyre on Mash, was also in the movie, but of course I was watching it to see Mr. Blue Eyes himself.

The Boy and I watched Raising Arizona with Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunt Friday night. I had seen it years ago, but he had never seen it and really enjoyed it. Here is a trailer for those of you who haven’t seen it.

The Husband and I also watched another episode of Harry Wild with Jane Seymour. I didn’t enjoy that on as much as the first episode. Then we watched another Brokenwood Mysteries.

What I’m Writing

I have been adding quite a bit to Mercy’s Shore as more ideas for it are starting to flow.

This week on the blog I shared:

What I’m Listening To

I wish I could say I am listening to a lot of music, but I really haven’t been, other than Matthew West. I also listened to Matthew’s podcast last week.

Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

Small town fun with outhouse races. Yes. Outhouses. Being Raced.

I could have attended the outhouse races for the first 19 years it was held in the small town my family now lives in, but I never did, and I don’t know why. But, last week, in the 20th year of the races, I finally made it to see outhouses being raced down Main Street.

I know, when most of you read that phrase “outhouse races” you thought of people running to the outhouse, which, for those who may not know, is an outside bathroom. No, they do not race to the bathrooms. They race the bathrooms.
I wasn’t sure I would make it (snort make it) after holding a yard sale all day that day, but I pushed myself and made it downtown to watch the homemade outhouses on wheels race down Main Street with what the local, weekly, paper reported was about 2,000 other spectators looking on.

Our small town has a population of approximately 600 people, and I believe all 600 people might have been there on Main Street, with exception of a few, including my neighbor who was wiped out from holding her second yard sale this summer. In addition to those people, there were another 1,500 or so (though I think there were less, really) from outside the area, including people who camp at cabins in the county. Our county is a tourist attraction of sorts in the summer, with many traveling from downstate to rent cabins in the beautiful forests that surround the few little towns.

I could have walked downtown but my feet were absolutely throbbing from standing on them all day (after joining my neighbor and trying to hold a yard sale on my own), so my husband drove me and the kids down and we waited for 40-minutes for the races to start.

The outhouse races started in our small town in 2000. According to an article in our local newspaper this week, the event started at the suggestion of a man named Spencer Davis who read about a small town in Michigan that raced outhouses set on skis across a frozen lake. Spencer and his wife, Barb, brought the idea up at a local Lions Club meeting. After some discussions, it was decided that the races here in Pennsylvania would be added to the other events of Founder’s Day, held the second Saturday in August every year, and that the race wouldn’t be on a frozen lake.

The members of the Lions Club decided the outhouses would be pushed by four people and one person inside it to steer. That setup has remained the same all these years.

The outhouses are often sponsored by local businesses or organizations, hence the logos and paintings on the side.
Before the race started, the teams pushed their outhouses to the top of the course and paraded down Main Street, waving at their fans.

There were six teams this year.

They raced two at a time until they narrowed the final race to the two teams with the best times.

I waited for the local paper to see if they would write about the drama that happened at the finish line of the one heat, but they didn’t, so I’m still not sure what happened. All I know is there were a few shouts of “Oh!” and the announcer said something about one team having seconds deducted from their final time.

The kids and I were at the other end, where the turn around the center circle was, so we missed all the drama. My son’s friend thought the team might have been penalized for their language, which wouldn’t have surprised me since when I tried to record that team, one of the members screamed out an expletive (the big one with the word mother in front of it). Usually, the event is very family-friendly, so that was a bit of a fluke.

Another fluke was the parking meter collection box full of wasps next to us that a person discovered halfway through the races. Thankfully only a couple of wasps came out and then flew back in again. Then there was the poor guy on the one team who pulled a hamstring or something. He limped the rest of the way down the street while we all winced and hoped he didn’t do any major damage.

My legs gave out before the final race, so we actually didn’t see who won, but the town paper reported yesterday that a team called Team Nutz won and also won the 3-on-3 basketball tournament. They participated in all their activities in memory of a former teammate who had won previous races with them, possibly the first-ever outhouse race, if I remember correctly from what a neighbor told me.

This photo was reproduced from our local newspaper, The Sullivan Review.

They have won nine out of the 20 races held throughout the years, according to the paper, including the last four in a row. Honestly, I had no idea when I saw the team that they were the returning champions. Some of the other teams seemed more polished at first (as far as their designs) but Team Nutz brought it home in the end and donated their monetary earnings to the scholarship in their late teammate’s name.

Another photo from the local paper and I put this one here because it shows how often St. Basil’s (the church I mentioned in my Hometown Views post about churches) is in photographs taken downtown. It’s very hard to avoid capturing the church in the background.

Overall, everyone seemed to have a lot of fun, no matter who took home the final prize.

I do regret that I missed out on voting for the painted toilet seat covers, but according to the paper the auction of the toilet seats (clean before they are painted, as far as I know!) brought $1,500 for the county library.

(The toilet seat cover images were downloaded from the library’s Facebook page.)

Next year, I won’t be hosting a yard sale so I will be able to go down and see the keg races as well as the outhouse races.

Next up in our rural area? The county fair in two weeks, which is sure to include some other unique, slightly redneck, activities. And, yes, I’ll be sure to grab some photos there as well.