As you are probably aware by now, the Seventh Annual Harvest Moon Fest is this Saturday on Main Street in Franklin.

As always, the Banner-Tribune has dedicated "our" lamppost for the decorating contest, our post being the first one on the boulevard in front of the courthouse heading into the downtown business district.

I canít take much credit this time, because I was too busy, stubborn and ornery to participate much in the creation of this one. A year or two ago, I contributed an outhouse made of wood to the cause, but after pondering the prospects of that being my sole claim to fame as a wood worker, I decided Iíd bow out gracefully henceforth.

If you look at our decoration, the most prominent feature is the witch in the tall hat and with the long nose. The witch was the first part of the thing to start coming together weeks ago. She began as a dressmakerís frame, upon which her gangly, crinkly and disgusting body began to take shape. Add mask, nose and reaching arms, and several unsuspecting visitors to the Banner turned a corner in the building and were scared out of their wits. A few actually screamed and nearly ran from the building.

I grew rather attached to the witch, really. I miss having her around the office now that sheís on the boulevard. She was, after all, the only woman around here that didnít talk back to me.

Hee-hee. Iím gonna boil in a cauldron for that one, you know!

The witch is scolding her beloved pet, a spider, who has failed to properly utilize the paper she put down for it in the process of potty training. She is standing in front of a fireplace.

The fireplace itself was a major undertaking by the decorating crew. It was assembled in the warehouse of the building and our craftsmen made creative use of cardboard, hot melted glue, Liquid Nails and chewing gum to construct it. I believe there may even be some witchery going on in its makeup as well, but then, that would get me back into the cauldron, so Iíll leave it alone.

There was much activity going on. One crew was finishing up the fireplace; one was working on the cauldron and flames; another the spider; another the tombstones and the backside of the fireplace, a different scene where a skeletal figure reminding me vaguely of George W. Bush is taking a paper out of the Banner box at the witchís house. The scent of glue, paint, five-minute epoxy and spray polyurethane gave everyone headaches.

There were occasional supply runs which really got odd.

"Weíre going to pick up some pea gravel," was one declaration.

"Can we go in your yard and pick up all the sticks?" I was asked at one point, and on the one hand I was glad to be rid of them, but on the other I was a little nonplused that anyone would just assume my yard would be full of sticks.

"Weíll be back," they said another time. "We need some aircraft grade aluminum, black diamond dust, kryptonite and chocolate ice cream. With chocolate chips."

Maybe I dreamed that last one, I donít know.

Of course, I was completely helpful in this entire endeavor. You know how helpful a guy I am, and Iím sure you wonít believe otherwise. It went kinda like this:

"Roger, will you please help us figure out how to make these corners?"

"Iím busy."


"Hey, do you think we should glue this here, here, or over there?"

"I gotta go see my mommy."

Ziiippp, fast-forward again.

"Can you figure out the best way to put these braces in to keep the bottom straight?"

"Ooops, four oíclock, gotta go!"

And finally when it was time to put it up on the boulevard, I had a little time, so we loaded the fireplace in my truck, hauled it over there and when it was all said and done, I commented:

"Well. We did a great job, didnít we?"

The bloodstains on the street will wash away with todayís rain, donít worry.