No, this post isn't about the medicinal uses of the garlic plant. But if you came here by mistake, please stay and read anyway.
I'm talking about a totally different type of healing, healing psychic wounds of a community.
Yesterday we went to the ACA's Garlic Festival on the edge of downtown Binghamton.
After a one year hiatus due to the horrendous shooting of April 3, 2009, we welcome the festival back.
We weren't going to go until today, but the weather report, combined with a one hour postponement in an event we were supposed to go to yesterday afternoon, combined in us making the trip yesterday. We didn't have too long to say, so didn't go inside to purchase garlic food. There were lines and we didn't have time to wait.
Just think, going inside, into a building that some might say was haunted. But how fitting that laughter filled that space yesterday.
Outside, the mood was just as festive. A number of booths were selling...well, what else, but garic. Spanish Roja, White German, Music, Elephant, and many more, hung braided, sat in bags, or loose, next to plates with pieces cut up for pre-purchase sampling. We bought a couple of bags of spouses' favorite, Music. Another booth had local pestos- spinach, sun dried tomato, red pepper, and more. Still another booth had pesto made from garlic scapes. (Garlic scapes are the top of the garlic plant, just as the seed area starts to form. They are delicious but you have to get the plant at just the right time or they become tough.)
Still another vendor, reminiscent of the New York soup man Jerry Seinfeld modeled his "Soup Nazi" after, sold his genuine Pennsylvania smoked sausage. If you looked at him wrong, he told you to "Go to the back of the line!" (No Garlic for You!) But it was all in good fun, the crowds gathered to enjoy his banter and we bought some sausage from him, too.
Local food, local garlic, even garlic ice cream (which I would never dare to try). A good time was had by all.