FEBRUARY 2nd, 2017
By LANA CARBON & JOHN LILIES
[Lana] Towards the end of summer 2016, Brother Carbon came to us with an idea for a family trip. He had read about this town called Meaford, which was holding their 20th Annual Scarecrow Invasion through October. He thought it would be a fun adventure to go look at the scarecrows and grab some lunch…just a nice day to spend with the family and we all agreed.
Now, obviously it couldn’t be just as simple as that, could it? Well, it probably could have been but when my brother and I get together, we tend to become quite the pair of jokesters. One thing led to another and, the next thing you know we were talking about the Wizard of Oz and imagining which characters each member of the family would correspond to, if we were to be in the film (excluding the Scarecrow, since Meaford was already supplying that character, of course).
Starting with the wholesome Ma Carbon, we knew she had to be Dorothy. Brother Carbon, the man who probably has the biggest heart out of all of us (even if he doesn’t want to admit it), was chosen to portray the Tin Man. We stepped slightly outside of the norm for John. We always tease her that she brings rain with her everywhere she goes, so as an extension to the obvious weather-controlling abilities that she possesses, we made her the tornado that brings Dorothy to Oz in the first place. That leaves yours truly. I was bestowed with the role of the Cowardly Lion. I really don’t know what they (Brother & Ma Carbon) were trying to imply with this suggestion.
To my surprise, the idea grew more and more serious as Brother Carbon and I began brainstorming some simple costume ideas. Suddenly, we were buying supplies and creating our outfits. This was really going to happen.
[John] I have no idea where I was for all of this… I remember being entirely in for the trip and then I remember coming home from work one day, to discover that costumes would be involved. Lana has quite the mischievous grin and snicker when he is up to something and this time, with Brother Carbon involved, I must admit that I was a bit concerned. I was wondering just what my tornado outfit would look like, but left it all to the capable and creative hands of Lana, Brother Carbon & Ma Carbon.
[Lana] The day finally came; Brother and Ma Carbon picked us up early in the morning so that we could all make the scenic two-hour drive together. We even had another character join our crew for the day… a rather over-sized ‘Toto’. Puppy Carbon made for a cramped car ride but none of us could have even imagined leaving her home alone for the day. Little did I know that she would be my saving grace. I am a coffee drinker and for some reason, on this day, we did not have our morning coffee. We also didn’t fill our travel mugs with coffee like we are often apt to do when we are taking a road trip. Brother Carbon had even warned us ahead of time that we wouldn’t be making stops along the way to buy coffee. When we pulled over at a park to let our ‘Toto’ relieve herself at a park that was only a short walk to a Tim Horton’s, I took my opportunity to make the dash over and get my caffeine fix. Thank you, ’Toto’!
[John] Puppy Carbon is truly not a puppy in the real meaning of the word, however she is remarkably playful and puppy-like (for me, all dogs are puppies). She is also large and not entirely aware of her body, and had a hard time finding a comfortable position between me and Lana in the back seat. She was a great sport however, and was just so happy to be in the car with us. We are always happy to have a puppy around, so it really wasn’t so bad having her plant her elbows or feet or bum on our laps… a smidgen painful at times perhaps, but not so bad.
[Lana] As we pulled into Meaford, I didn’t really know what to expect. In my mind, I was picturing a few storefront scarecrows and maybe a small section of houses with a scarecrow in the yard. The reality of it was so completely different. It truly was like an invasion. They were everywhere. There were scarecrows in the park. There were scarecrows in the stores. The scarecrows covered the bridges, lined the sidewalks and hung from the lamp posts. Scarecrows were everywhere, which we explored much more closely after stopping for a delicious lunch at a small but very busy Captain’s Corner Fish & Chips restaurant.
[John] Holy scarecrows, Batman! It was unbelievable to see the number of them around and the extent to which some people went in creating them. Some wore poodle skirts, some carried instruments, some were as individuals and others in groups. Many had pumpkin heads and others more ‘human’-like faces, and still more represented celebrities. As someone who has never made a scarecrow, I can definitely say that I was impressed with the efforts made and the community involvement. For those of you who may be Gilmore Girls fans, this event had me thinking a bit of Stars Hollow and their town festivals. (It made me smile.)
[Lana] Since Ma Carbon can’t walk the streets the way that John and I can, the two of us took a stroll through town while the other Carbons went to fill up on gas and drive around. We made it to the other end of the main strip at a leisurely pace, taking photos along the way, before meeting up again with our fellow travellers.
We did stop by some scarecrows that were quite apropos to get a few pictures in our special costumes for the day. One business had Wizard of Oz themed scarecrows outside, in front of which we just had to pose.
[John] In this moment, we discovered just how shy we were in our outfits for the photo. Shy as we were though, we posed and laughed it up the entire time. (Sorry folks… you won’t get to see those pictures!)
[Lana] On the way out of town, we stopped at the true gem of the Scarecrow Invasion display, simply named the Art Show. The scarecrows here were different than those in the rest of town. These scarecrows represented various celebrities of the music industry. Legendary figures from the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix to Michael Jackson and KISS, were all on display. We took a few more pictures and then began our long trip back home.
The town was nothing like what I had expected and I think that was a good thing. Some of the best days can come as a total surprise to us; being able to spend this time with the Carbon family doing something a little different, was a wonderful thing indeed.
[John] It truly was a fun and special day that I will forever treasure. Thank you, Brother Carbon, Ma Carbon and Puppy Carbon, for taking us on a great adventure! Shall we start planning the next one?