Hula Hooping: A Guideline to Aging

Notes from Nan: Hula Hooping: Harder Thank it Looks
BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati

One day back when I was in about my twenties, I was sitting cross-legged on the floor playing with a little kid, when a woman who even then didn’t seem much older than I was said to me, “I can’t believe you’re limber enough to do that! I sure can’t sit like that!” and from that moment on I vowed to always be able to sit like that on the floor and I have since minded my floor-sitting capabilities as my guideline to aging.

I can still sit cross-legged on the floor, and plan to begin any minute doing it for long periods of time as I write all 600 band-name signs for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. That I can still do.

I did recently discover, however, much to my large concern that I do not seem to be able to hula-hoop anymore. I am presently lodging in a home that comes with a hula-hoop and so I naturally decided it would be a good thing to do. I have found that, unlike riding a bike, hula-hooping is forgettable and I find that I cannot (ahem) keep it up (as they say. Women don’t usually say it, but I find that I can not, in fact, keep it up!) I will practice every day—and, in fact I can keep it up longer than when I first tried, but still not like I could when I was eight.

We all have our challenges and this is mine. I hope that by the time I return to Ashfield I will be able to hoop my hula with the tiniest of the little kids on the street, and will keep you, faithful readers, abreast of my progress!

Day 4 of Hula Hoop Camp:

I think it’s the hoop. The owner of it is four years old and so, maybe it’s too small or too light for me. I am better than I was on day one, but it still swirls around and around and down my legs like water going down the toilet.

Onward and around-ward!

Friday Nights Menu (04/04/08):

Want to know what we’re having for dinner?

Now we’re going to Poland and we’ll bring large work horses in to add to the décor. (I went to Poland in the early ‘90s and my most memorable vision was of a people out plowing with huge horses. That was a while ago and I don’t know if they’re still doing that, but it remains how I love remembering Poland. ) So step aside for the gargantuan plow horses that we’ll have standing around in Elmer’s on Friday night as part of the decoration.

And while you’re there, you can eat:

  • Kielbasa
  • Perogis
  • Sauerkraut
  • Vegetable
  • with a tossed Field Greens salad

And the vegetarians across the table will be dining on:

  • Vegetarian Kielbasa
  • Perogis
  • Sauerkraut
  • Vegetable
  • With a tossed Field Greens salad

And now it’s time for Grocery Talk with Rob!

Rob’s Grocery Talk with Rob

You know, I do love it here in Ashfield, you know. But sometimes I catch myself longing for a piece of my past life.

Specifically that piece of past life I spent in St. Paul.  The largest small town in the country!

Every year in late January, St. Paul throws a Winter Carnival celebration. I won’t go into the whole history and all, but the theme revolves around the battle between King Boreas, who represents winter (honest to god, I could not find a suitable picture on the internet of King Boreas!) and Vulcanus Rex, who along with his Vulcan Krewe, represent spring.

Finding an image of the Krewe was easy as they are always in the news due the various charges of lewd and lascivious behavior on their part. Usually these fellows are pretty well behaved, but since their sole mission is to visit every bar in the city via ancient fire truck, the odds of a cute waitress or barmaid being on the receiving end of Vulcan ribaldry do increase with each passing hour.

Anyway, should you encounter these gentlemen at your favorite watering hole, the standard procedure is to raise your glass and shout “Hail the Vulc!” If you are lucky, they may give you a response that doesn’t involve throwing up on your shoes.

But there is much more to the Winter Carnival than that! Most notably the incredible Ice Castles.  That’s what they built in 1986. Pretty impressive.

From 1992. Can’t build ‘em every year because they’re so ungodly expensive and that money should’ve been spent on textbooks and potholes, dammit.

So I was thinking. As long as Nan is gone, that means there are no hair-brain ideas designed to make the town do foolish things (like putting costumes on animals and marching down the street, to name but one).

Well I, your humble grocer, is stepping into the breach and announcing that the town of Ashfield will celebrate its

First Annual Winter Carnival Celebration!

July 25-27 2008

We’ll have sledding, ice sculptures, ice castles, and drunk guys in red tights! What fun!

But first, to kick things off, we’ll start with (sometimes it’s more fun to note the triple redundancy than to actually rewrite the sentence) the

Ashfield Winter Carnival Medallion Hunt!

Here’s how it works: Every edition of the Ashfield News will have a new and highly cryptic clue in the form of a short poem. You are to decipher the clues and use them to locate the treasure! It’s just that simple. Find the medallion first and you will win a huge cash prize. I’ll have Nan put up the money, since I hear she’s got an actual job now.

And, because I’m your grocer and I like to give you valuable inside information whenever possible, I’m going to give you the first clue right now days before the Ashfield News hits the stands. So grab your shovels!

Clue #1

How can one road

Be so easy for some

And so hard for others

A cyclist’s worst foe can

Be a bus driver’s best friend

As they pass each other

Pedals pressed hard in

Opposing desires

Sheep bleat encouragement

Worst. Poem. Ever.

And now, the official unveiling of this year’s Ashfield Winter Carnival Medallion.

Good luck and we’ll see you next week!

Nan: Um, Rob,–excuse me here—“Grocery Talk with Rob” is supposed to be about groceries—that’s why we call it “Grocery talk with Rob.”

Rob: I know, but, with all of the death ice still falling from the sky, all I can think about is Winter Carnival.

Nan: Can you think about Winter Carnival and groceries???

Rob: Um, no. I don’t think I can.

Nan: Could you for next week?

Rob: Well, you write about all kinds of things not related to Elmer’s. You’re talking about Hula Hooping, for crying out loud. What does that have to do with anything?

Nan: Well, it’s—it’s my show here. I get to do what I want. You’re a guest on the show. You have to do what I say.

Rob: Oh for crying out . . . . okay! Okay! Whatever! Next week I’ll say something about groceries! Can I still talk about other things too?

Nan: Oh sure, as long as you mention groceries in at least 30 percent of your column.

Rob: Whatever. It’s snowing again.

Nan: I know. I’m sorry.

Weather Report

Speaking of the weather, it’s very hot here right now in New Orleans. You wouldn’t like it. You really wouldn’t. It’s probably near 90 if not already 90 and we’re just in March yet. I know it’s still snowing there, but if you were here you would be thinking that you were going to die before summer finished because (as a Yankee once told me) “In the North you stay warm by adding more and more layers. In the South in the summer you can only take off so much and you’re still hot. That’s why hot is scarier than cold.”

I ain’t scared though. I know the zen of perspiration!

Upcoming Events at Elmer’s

Surf and Turf by Murph: A Retrospective by Jim Murphy

Gallery Opening: Saturday, April 5 from 3-5pm

The café gallery will feature seascapes and local landscapes from Ashfield’s Jim Murphy for the month of April.

The Farm Report

So now is the time to make refreshing salsa, cream of celery or cauliflower soup, and lime dressings and marinades. Check below fo all the produce delivered yesterday and the items we have in stock. (These lists are updated every week).


APPLES from Scott’s Orchard:

SQUASHES from Scott’s Orchard and Patty Flat Farm:
red kuri

ONIONS from Ashfield gardener:
French shallots

POTATOES from Manda Farm in Plainfield :
Fingerling potatoes (in the cooler on the bottom shelf)

Organic (VT) Carrots
Organic (CA) Cauliflower
Organic (CA) Celery
Organic (Argentina) Garlic
Organic (HI) Ginger Root
Organic (CA) Mesclun
Organic (CA) Peppers: Green
Organic (VT) Sprouts: Alfalfa
Organic (VT) Tomatoes: Long Wind A’s
Organic (VT) Tomatoes: Good n’ Uglies

Conventional Limes

Organic (CA) Arugula
Organic (Ecuador) Bananas
Organic (CA) Red Beets
Organic (CA) Broccoli
Organic (CA) Grapefruit
Organic (CA) Lettuce: Romaine Hearts
Organic (Peru) Mangoes
Organic (CA) Onions: Yellow
Organic (CA) Potatoes: Red
Organic (Canada) Potatoes: Yukon

Conventional Asparagus
Conventional Red Peppers

If you would like to make specific requests, email me at

Don’t forget to get your exercise!

Yours from Hula Hoop Camp,

Big E

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