The Great Zucchini Controversy of 2002

[Whoops! This was supposed to be yesterday’s post. Instead you got Neanderthals. Pretend the Tunbridge Fair has been extended by one day. SB SM]

The colors on the ribbon may have faded, but not the memories.

The Tunbridge World’s Fair is a stage, and all the men and women of Central Vermont have their moments to strut and fret their hours upon its tatty midway. Amidst a blurry backdrop of country music and rock ‘n roll, french frys (note the special Fair spelling) and onion rings, carnies on cheap sound systems and the clicking of cloggers, slamming hammers and ringing gongs, clipclopping horses and twock-twocking two-cycle steam engines, corn dogs and sausage rolls, the gentry of this fair land take a last grasp at summer, at carefree bliss, before a winter of enslavement to the almighty wood stove.

But behind the veneer of carefree fun exists a darker, more sinister side … that of the cutthroat, high stakes competition for colored ribbons and cash prizes that can mar a seemingly benign and pastoral event. To prove that this nether world exists, one need look no further than the disputed blue ribbon award for the largest zucchini of 2002. Who deserves recognition has been a matter of great dispute ever since.

She says: Look it up in the fair documents, or the archives of The Herald. I am clearly listed as the winner of the blue ribbon/Best-of-Show Award for the 16 pound, 3 ounce behemoth.

He says: A mere technicality. That only means that you filled out the entry form. That’s like trying to claim the credit for transporting the vegetable to the Fairgrounds. It’s a typical female ploy, doing the clerical minutiae, then claiming credit for all the sweat, toil, creativity, and nurturing that it actually takes to raise a prize-winning plant. Let me ask you point-blank: In the time we’ve been together, have you ever, even once, planted a zucchini?

She says: It doesn’t take a genius to place a seed in the ground in May, but, as usual, you planted way too many so that … every year! … by late August the garden is out of control, and we’re sick to death of zucchini. The only contribution you made to this zucchini was to ignore it completely.

He says: And you suckled it to your breast?

Not only the blue ribbon for biggest, but an additional one for Best of Show. Note the misspelling of “Zuccini.”

She says: Figuratively, yes. I kept an eye on it throughout August, made sure it had plenty of water, then covered it with a flannel sheet on cool nights and made sure it continued to grow until the Fair. If it was left up to you, that zucchini would have ended up in the compost. You didn’t care about it until you saw that blue ribbon. Then, in typical male style, you couldn’t stop crowing about it and parading around with it hoisted over your head like you just won the World Cup.

He says: Am I, a certified Master Gardener, entitled to the rights and privileges thereof?

She says: Big deal! I’ve been gardening since you were wearing short pants. I know twice as much as you do.

He says: Then why are there pictures of me, ribbon-on-chest, hoisting my zucchini aloft on the Internet? No mean feat of strength, I might add.

She says: All that means is that you are as deluded and can’t resist making up for your own insecurity by making exaggerated, juvenile, sophomoric claims about your prowess at growing big zucchinis. It’s just another case where women do the work and men claim the credit.

He says: It’s my blue ribbon!

She says: It’s my blue ribbon!

He says: My blue ribbon!

She says: Mine!

Actually … the colors of the ribbon may have faded in two decades, but so have the memories. To be continued at Fair Time, 2023.

2 thoughts on “The Great Zucchini Controversy of 2002

  1. We have a different kind of competition in Lancaster County PA: see how many zucchini you can give away before they get anywhere near that big. Like neighbors surreptitiously leaving them on doorsteps late at night. Same for tomatoes – it’s nice to have homegrown of your favorites but the least productive plant gives you more than ten times what need. As for your particular issue in determining who deserves the blue ribbon, I’m sure there is “vegetable counseling” available if you are willing to pay in cash, not zucchini

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