Sit Down By Jack McConnell

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Copyright 2009 Jack McConnell
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A seat at the counter ... These craggy old-timers have breakfasted together most of their lives. Usually they arrive at the local diner by sun-up, before taking their tractors out into the fields. Today they slept in, hoisted their wool trousers and Sunday jackets, and met at the Lancaster Fairgrounds concession stand for the requisite bowl of oatmeal, bacon and eggs. They dawdle at the counter, washing down their food with cups of black coffee, collecting opinions from other farmers about the bright new John Deeres, and waiting for Joey Chitwood to circle the track on only two wheels of his Chevrolet, a feat he’s been doing for at least 30 years.

Maybe the men will fork over a few bills to test their strength at the HammerStrike. They’ll probably take at least one turn on the ferris wheel so they can see their farms off to the East. And they’ll wolf down a greasy sub laced with fried onions, peppers and strips of venison sausages. The taller man on the right I call Mr. Chicken Legs, because of his long scrawny legs with pant legs six inches too short at the ankles. I’ve seen him all over the fairgrounds and taken several photos of him walking along, lifting his legs high for balance, like a man walking cautiously through pasture patties.

Stone Wall Jack