22nd September 2014 – Roisin Whyte
“In Wisconsin it is illegal and also sinful to paint your barn any colour other than burnt fire red. During the great cheddar rebellion of 1873, a group of dairy farmers from a small town outside Baraboo united and, inspired by the Great Lakes and Satan himself, began to paint their barns a wild and wicked blue. When spring finally emerged, green and golden, beneath the white winter blanket, they soon realised their own folly. The blue barns were all but invisible against the wide Wisconsin skyscape, the corn was lost and their hearts, for one heavy moment, wished for a grey, Christmas sky to guide their way home.”
23rd September 2014 – Helen Crawford
“Every other Thursday Sybil gets her hair cut at Divine Image Salon. The hairdressers is situated in a strip mall on West Side, sandwiched between the Earring Store and I’m Board, (fun and games for all the family). Marge at Divine Image has been cutting her hair since long before the grandbabies began to arrive and, over the years, they have become firm friends.
“Make me look just like Jesus, Marge,” Sybil always says.
It is a running joke between the two ladies but Marge can only do perms.”
24th September 2014 – Mary Hegarty
“Road kill is particularly common in Wisconsin. Skunks, raccoons and possums are just as common as the more pedestrian birds and rabbits found in more sophisticated states. Wisconsin drivers are neither faster nor more careless than their peers in Minnesota and Illinois. It is the animals who move slower here, sliding under the snow tires as they keep gentle pace with the corn and the cows and the slow circling rain clouds.”
25th September 2014 – Nicky Bull
“This September around half a million people, mostly American, will descend upon the small, Wisconsin town of Monroe for the annual cheese festival and parade. In peaked hats and Badgers sweatshirts the adults will line the streets with picnic rugs and collapsible deck chairs, positioning their children within grabbing distance of the good stuff -candy, Frisbees, key rings sponsored by the local car dealership- as it gets tossed from passing floats. The mice and ground dwelling rodents of Monroe, Wisconsin will gorge themselves on the leftovers; their tiny palates grown accustomed to a better class of cheese.”
26th September 2014 – Kate Mairs
“In their mid seventies, just two years shy of their fiftieth wedding anniversary, they finally figured out a way of working together.
“I shall do the across clues,” she suggested, “and you, my Love, shall work on the downs.”
This system soon proved itself far superior to previous systems: the many years of separate newspapers, the week she’d flirted with Sudoku, the hundreds and thousands of crossword grids abandoned, incomplete, on the kitchen table. Working around each others’ weaknesses the words seemed to slip together easily, like hands clasping in agreement, and, in their early eighties, they entered the finest puzzling period of their life.”