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I'm a ham, oh yes I am

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By The Staff

"Ham Daze." "Hamtastic." "Hambrella Days." And, my all-time favorite... "Burp!" Those are some of the fun, silly and ridiculous headlines and phrases that have been used in The Lebanon Enterprise over the years to describe this community's most beloved festival - Marion County Country Ham Days. "Burp!" has my father written all over it. It was the headline in the edition following Ham Days in 1981. That year, the headline "Burp!" led a story announcing 15,000 to 20,000 people attended Ham Days and they ate 4,548 breakfasts, including 15,000 biscuits. So, I'm sure the simple (and somewhat inappropriate) word "Burp!" said it all to my father, who was the editor of the Enterprise at the time. I can hear him saying it now. I'm sure he got a good chuckle out of that one. I wonder what he would think of the pig hourglass I created on the front page this week? A little corny, I'll admit, but it works, right? As if "Hamtastic" isn't corny enough! It seems there was a long spell of corniness back in the day at the Enterprise when it came to the subject of Ham Days. Any fathomable way to use the word "ham" or "pig" in a headline, it was used! I discovered that recently when News Editor Stephen Lega began perusing back issues of the Enterprise to compile a "timeline" of the past 40 (or so) years of Ham Days, which is featured on our front page this week. Timeline... pig hourglass... get it? And I just realized that the headline to this column sounds like the makings of a Dr. Seuss book. Sorry, I digress. Within the past few weeks, I have laughed hysterically at some of the Ham Days headlines used within the past four (or so) decades. Not laughing at anyone, mind you, just amused by the "creativity" of past reporters and editors of this newspaper. "It just keeps getting 'pigger' and better" was the headline in 1987. Pigger? Seriously? Classic stuff. Hey, I might be able to use "pigger" in a headline next week because I expect this year's Ham Days to be one of the piggest yet! (Knock on wood. Please Mother Nature... Be kind.) If you haven't already, check out our Ham Days section, which should have been included in your Enterprise this week. If not, come see me. I'm sure we'll have extras. Inside the section is not only useful information about this year's festival, but some classic memories, submitted by our readers, about what Lebanon and Marion County was like 40 years ago in 1969. Being a 1979'er myself, I didn't get to experience what Lebanon and Marion County was like during the "club days" when The Golden Horseshoe, Club 68 and other hot spots were "the" place to be on the weekends. I'm truly fascinated by that era of Lebanon and Marion County. So, in honor of this year's Ham Days' theme, "Rockin' on 68 since 1969," I desperately wanted readers to share some of their memories of those days with us. Thankfully, several readers humored me and submitted some fascinating memories of the old club days. Several readers even submitted photos, which are also included in our Ham Days section. The Ham Days section is definitely a must-read this year, and I truly hope our readers enjoy it. Most importantly, I hope this upcoming weekend is a smashing success for the community and for the Lebanon-Marion County Chamber of Commerce. Just like every year, the chamber staff, its board of directors, the Ham Days committee and countless volunteers have worked tirelessly to prepare for this year's festival. And (fingers crossed) I truly believe it is going to be one of the "piggest" and most "hamtastic" Ham Days ever! Okay, enough corniness for one column. If anyone hears me utter the word "hamtastic" ever again, slap me!