Sunday, November 10, 2013

the thankful project day 10: a memory

{Linking up with Kenzie at Chasing Happy}

November 10th: A Memory.
The small northwest Indiana town of Chesterton has a special affinity for The Wizard of Oz.  The Yellow Brick Road House was a popular tourist stop during my childhood, and the town is the proud host of the annual Wizard of Oz Festival each year.  Which was perfect, because my grandparents lived in Chesterton and Pops loved The Wizard of Oz. So us grandkids grew up knowing all things Wizard-related and developed a love for the movie at a young age.
cousins at the festival parade 
During my childhood years, many of the Munchkin actors would travel from across the country to attend Chesteron's festival.  The morning of the festival, they would camp out at various local restaurants and retailers to sign autographs and take pictures.  There was no set schedule or map detailing each actor's location, but somehow Pops figured out in advance where each of them would be.  

The morning of the festival each year, I would dress up in my Dorothy dress and hop in the car for our actor tour.  Pops took me everywhere - from the local Dunkin' Donuts to the Blockbuster Video and around town - to hit each actor's location.  I have countless autographs and pictures with the Munchkin soldiers, the Lullaby League members, the Munchkin Land Mayor and Town Board, and the flying monkeys (who were actually the Munchkin actors in disguise - who knew?!).  

One year, I got to meet the Lollipop Kid.  Pops told me in advance of a rumor that the Lollipop Kid handed out one lollipop each year to a lucky kid, but not to be disappointed if I didn't get one.  I'm not sure if that rumor was true or not, but imagine my surprise when, after sweetly signing my autograph book, he handed me a grape Tootsie Pop!  I couldn't believe my luck!
via google
When we got back into the car, I began to take the wrapper off of my Tootsie Pop so I could enjoy my prize.  When he realized what I was doing, Pops quickly stopped me and had me put the wrapper back on.  He told me that this Tootsie Pop was an extra special one, and I would regret it later if I ate it right away.  

I didn't understand Pops' logic at the time but now I am so glad that he stopped me.  Because the thing is, I still have that Tootsie Pop, twenty-five years later.  It's no good to eat any more, but that doesn't matter because it was never about eating anyway.  That little Tootsie Pop is a small reminder of all the time, effort and love that Pops poured into our Wizard of Oz Festival autograph adventures.  I am so thankful for that little Tootsie Pop.
via google (my tootsie pop is safe and sound in my parents' house)

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