Wednesday, September 29, 2010!

Need a quick pick-me-up?!  Listen to Don't Rain On My Parade from GLEE.

Okra Strut 2010:
Irmo, South Carolina has been my home for almost nine years.  I can remember the day I moved here.  I didn’t think I could love living in a place called…
I-R-M-O home of the OkRa StRuT

But, I think your home is what you make it, whether it is in Raeford, North Carolina, Powhatan, Virginia, or Macon, Georgia.  A home has family, friends, and traditions.
One of the many wonderful traditions that Irmo established 37 years ago is the okra strut.  Before I even explain what the okra strut is, think about the name for just a minute.  Okra is a vegetable…it is a type of food.  I like fried okra with ketchup.  I haven’t been a fan of it for very long though.  The look of it isn’t too appealing.  But, after getting a little older, and wanting to broaden my horizon a bit, I tried it.  In saying that though, not many people do like it…even after trying it.  So why did Irmo, South Carolina choose to have an annual strut named after an unpopular vegetable?

“It all began in 1973 as a fundraiser for the Lake Murray-Irmo Woman’s Club.  The goal was to build a brand new library for the Irmo community.  Local radio personality, the late Gene McKay, had the idea of naming the fundraiser the “Okra Strut” when he, jokingly, described the “ancient Irmese” as “a farming tribe who lived off okra!”  In October that year, the Woman’s Club had a modest arts & crafts sale inside Seven Oaks Park.
The Okra Strut has grown with an estimated attendance of 50-70,000 festival-goers from surrounding communities and states.  The festival is presented by Lexington Medical Center, First Citizens, and Budweiser of Columbia and is held in and around the Irmo Village Shopping Center in the heart of Irmo.
A recipient of numerous awards, the Okra Strut was featured as one of “ten great places to celebrate food” in USA Today along side of the Maine Lobster Festival and the Monterrey Bay Strawberry Festival.”
The Parade:
The parade started at 9am.  Imagine plenty of Irmoians lined up along the street; sidewalks on one side covered with soft blankets, comfy chairs, kids waiting anxiously, dogs wanting attention, and adults with their coffee.  A hill of grass on the other side, almost mirroring the concrete image, with the remains of morning breath hiding behind dew, crowned with a railroad track; Irmo police patrol the area, the street is closed, the day is getting hot, and we wait. 
The first sign…music.  Once you can hear the music, you know there coming your way.  Any and all of Irmo’s organizations are involved.  Political leaders, Schools – this includes your athletes, cheerleaders, band members – Dance Studios, Churches, Banks, Restaurants…anybody who wants to be recognized, puts either a float, a group of people with t-shirts, signs, flyers, “stocking stuffers”, and they all have CANDY…in the line-up. 
I love parades!
By being in the parade, you are a symbol of what our town has become.  By watching the parade, you are affiliating yourself as a member/supporter of the town.  And I love to be involved.  Not to mention, it’s like a mini Halloween.  I just stood there with a bag open, and people came and dropped things in it. 
I am a kid at heart.  As a 21 year old though, a lot of people passed me by when passing out candy or giving away balloons.  And who’s to say I wouldn’t want to hug a mascot?  But, I didn’t let that rain on my parade.  Instead, I enjoyed watching actual children participating in this action.
People should follow the rules.  There’s a reason rules are in place.  Nobody is an exception to the rules.  I’m going to be very nice in saying this…this has nothing to do with the types of people that I’m about to reference…it has everything to do with following the rules.  There were a “couple” of women standing next to us, in the street.  The street was closed, not so they could stand in it.  The street was closed, so the parade could pass through without interruption.  This concept makes sense, right?!  The women had their children with them, and being a part of Irmo, they had a right to be there as much as anybody.  If no one had minded that they were not following the rules, why should I?  On the other side of us, there was a mom.  A very nice lady, who actually happened to know one of the ladies I was with.  Her daughter was in the parade.  As a mom, she wanted to see her daughter, and wanted to make sure her daughter could see her.  Kindly, she asked the women to stand on the side walk like the rest of the town.  She was ignored.  She repeated herself a few times…one of the girls responded with, “why don’t you …BEEP… move”.  Mrs. Mom was on the side walk like everyone else, where was she supposed to move to?  If the couple had been following the rules, there wouldn’t have been a problem.  Mrs. Mom walked up to the ladies and asked them to move again.  She stated that she came to watch her daughter in the parade, and wanted to be able to see her.  She just asked that they move back a bit.  How hard is it to do that?  Needless to say, no one moved.  It was sad to see grown women act so childish.  The only rotten group in Irmo, and somehow I ended up standing next to them…ha-ha.  But, I did not let that rain on my parade.  Instead, when Mrs. Mom’s daughter came by, we all cheered her on…she knew we were watching, and even as a third party observer, she was appreciated!!
This isn’t as new-agey as it sounds.  Create an affirmation wallet card and take the good vibes with you everywhere you go.
Cut an index card to roughly the same size as a credit card.
On your card, write at least one really nice thing about yourself.  Or write three things you like the best about yourself.  (You can use what you might have done for the previous post.)  Or write an uber-positive saying.  (“Nobody can rain on my parade.”)
You can laminate your card with laminating sheets, or you can even ask the store to laminate it for you.  Carry your affirmation card in your wallet.
                                         – The Happy Book       


  1. I have NEVER been to the Okra Strut... or any other kind of Strut..The only thing in Columbia I have done that's really big is the ST Patrick's Day thing in 5 points...I'm very proud of you actually with this blog, you got some positive things to say and some good ideas on how to build on that... This is such a negative world and for me...I get caught up in some of this and end up adding more negative things to world... Maybe I will go to this Okra Strut one of these days... but right now I am at school...and I will be here through the rest of the day... I've worked the last 6 days in a row and it's really sucked but last night it was raining and it was cold...but I still made sure I found some things to be thankful to God for... I thought about what you said about finding a reason to smile... Anyways...Fried Okra and Ketchup sounds nasty :p

  2. Hello Larry! Well, by all means, you should check it out!! They had an Elvis impersonator…so awesome!! And the Band of Oz…(beach music)…also really good. Plus, it’s like a mini fair…it smells like wonderful fried food and every time you look up in the sky, balloons are escaping in every which direction!

    Thank you for being a loyal fan. I feel that being happy is something I’m good at…don’t get me wrong…I’m not happy all the time. But 95% of the time when I am, I rock at it. Smiling through tough times, or finding something to be happy about on bad days has paved the path for more good days and real reasons to smile. I just thought that if someone could do a few of these wacky, silly, cRaZy things that I post…they might have more good days and real reasons to smile too! So…hang in there.

    ps don’t knock FRIED OKRA AND KETCHUP until you’ve tried it!!

    For a pick-me-up, email

  3. PS round 2: It still sounds nasty..
    I think I will go one day to this "Okra Strut." I think I will go to the fair this year, I want to go but I don't want to go alone; so we will see how it goes. I have made the effort to read your blog when you post it, because I am interested in what you have to say. Most of the time I don't care what people are saying or thinking...whatever... But reading your posts does make me think about things. I think God and Redbull helped me understand some math today and that made me laugh.. I almost lost my cellphone last night and would have had to spend a lot of money to get a new one, and even though I was tired and everything I still found reasons to be thankful... so thank YOU for helping me get a new view on life.

  4. Hello again! It’s great to get out there and explore your town’s traditions. They establish them for a reason! Not to mention, it’s a great way to make new friends and visit your old ones!

    I try to make my posts general, to where anybody who reads it can get something out of it. It makes me happy that what I write can do something for you. If you were the only person who ever got any fulfillment out of what I do, then it would be worth it. Just keep your chin up. And create that wallet affirmation celebration card! Better yet, write something on your hand that will make you laugh out loud.

    For a pick-me-up, email

  5. Sometimes, well a lot of the time I feel that I float through society with my head down. I run into countless amounts of people on a daily basis but I do little to nothing to put myself out there and make connections. I did talk to a girl at a smoking gazeebo before my english class. Of course we discussed Wal-Mart which is generally going to take over the world some day as did it with the vast amount of employees. I really either don't know when up coming events are around town or I'm too busy to attend them. Sometimes when I do have time, I am too tired to attend or don't have a way to get there. If I were to write something down on my hand that would make me laugh it probably would be something that would offend someone else. However, due to the amounts of tattoos I have on my hands and arms; it kind of would be a difficult task to accomplish. I will create a wallet affirmation celebration card though this weekend. I am off today and tomorrow, however I am at school for the remainder of the day unfortunately. I really think you should write for the newspaper or something; you make the words jump out of the page. I think you are amazing at expressing your thoughts and things.

  6. Hello Larry! Part of me thinks you have nothing better to do than comment on a HAPPY how to. (I'm joking of course!) It thrills me to know that someone is reading this. :)

    Nothing will change immediately. But, if you change one small thing that you will build up to bigger things...and you'll start to notice a few things changing. Instead of walking with your head down, walk with your head up. People are afraid to look one another in the eyes... well, be one of those people that aren't. Walk with your head held high, not in a cocky way, but in a comfortable way. Look directly at people when they pass you at them...nod in there direction...wave...ask how there doing...say "hello". After all, you never know who could be coming around the corner. The world has to get a little brighter if your looking at it. What's the worst that could happen?...someone doesn't respond politely. That's okay - continue to is contaigous. If every time that negative person walks past you, and sees you smiling at them, it just might catch on!!!!!!!

    Be a ray of light in the world of darkness!

    As far as writing something on your hand, don't do it if it will deliberately offend someone...but if it makes you happy...then that is what you focus on. Because at the end of the day, you have to live with's your red wagon, you have to pull it...let go of some of those things...after all, nobody likes dragging a heavy was already heavy before you started adding things to it.

    Once you create the card, put it in your wallet, or somewhere you can easily access it. Then when your feeling down...pull it out and read it. If your having a really bad day, it might get repetitive. So...trying reading it out loud...singing it...saying it with a british accent...or a fishy face...whatever you have to do to smile...

    Let me know how it goes!

    For a pick-me-up, email