Anything for a buck right? Well at my local neighborhood orchard the question was $10. Note that price was per person, not per car, not per family...per person. Do you have a kid older then two? $10. Are you an invalid or handicap and can’t enjoy the festivities? $10. Do you want a pumpkin? Well that will be extra. Do you want to feed the animals? Extra. Well how about a donut or a cup of fresh cider? Nothing could be more “Autumn” then that. EXTRA.
And this was how our trip to the fall fest yesterday at Butler’s Orchard went. If you were a child you might not have noticed this classic con at work. Hell after all as a kid you don’t have money and you get a moon bounce, and animals and a hay ride and you get to pick pumpkins (which Mommy and Daddy have to pay for when you get back from the fields). But there’s more...you can have a caramel apple and cider and kettle corn (also coming out of Mommy and Daddy’s paycheck). You see it’s not that I’m against making a buck...in fact I think it’s a great thing that these “farmers” have found a way to profit in a down economy. What I am upset about (obviously) is the fact that they are charging for something so basic as fall fun. If they had charged $10/person and given you a free pumpkin or a free cup of cider and a donut then I probably wouldn’t have much problem with it. To make it even (and I always find a way) somebody I know may have pilfered a pumpkin....you hear that Butlers...”somebody I know” has one of your beloved pumpkins. Do you want it back? Bring $5 and a bottle of cider to “somebody I know’s” door. Leave it there and the next day you can open your door and have the pumpkin back. No questions asked.
I want to take a moment to break from this tirade to congratulate all the runners in this year’s Marine Corps Marathon. The wife, dog, other dog (Dylan) and yours truly all headed down to cheer them on yesterday and were treated to quite a scene. Not only was it a beautiful day but the runners looked sharp. However not all was good in the land of Arling-ton. The race started a little before 8am with the Wheelchair athletes. At the MCM many of them are military veterans who gave a limb for our freedom and that is an additional level of inspiration above just completing the 26.2 mile course. However where we were situated was at the bottom of a long hill (Lee Highway) just before it takes a rather sharp right turn (Spout Run). For runners, this isn’t much of challenge but the wheelchair racers have to focus so as not to loose their balance in the turn. Several almost “bit it” when they went up on two wheels but managed to regain their balance. However one was not so lucky. As this racer came down the hill he got mixed up in the Police Escort that was waiting for the lead runners to come into the area. The police should have seen him and cleared the way but they didn’t and he was forced to corner way to sharp, lost his balance and flew into the crowd of spectators striking an elderly woman who was on the curb cheering. I jumped up ran over and helped assess the situation. The racer was a little shaken up but ok other then a few scrapes. The women however was just trying to hold herself together. There was a police officer over seconds later but what got me was that it took at least 10 minutes for a medical unit to arrive. I’m not talking about an ambulance that has to weave it’s way through traffic and closed streets but just an medical bike team that was on the course anyway. It turns out the woman was a little bruised but toughed out and finished the spectating. But here is where I am going to BLAST THE ARLINGTON COUNTY POLICE! How is it that you are so wrapped up in a simple motorcade (when the runners were still 5 min away that you didn’t notice another competitor on the course?? And how is it that you need 4 motorcycles and a patrol car to clear the way?? My first thought is that 2 motorcycles would do the job and my second thought is how much tax money was used to pay for all the time that those other officers were driving the course to clear the way for the lead pack? Speaking of which, isn’t it also interesting that this race doesn’t offer any prize money and tends not to draw an “elite field”? Why was such a big entourage needed with those conditions?? The people of Arlington should be asking these things of their elected officials and their police leaders. If you have a concern please call the Office of the Chief of Police 703-228-4040 and call the County Manager’s office and demand to know what is really going on here!!