Back to Buncom… At Home in Oregon

You never know who or what might show up for the parade, but everybody is invited to participate. No entry form required.

You never know who or what might show up for the Buncom Day parade, but everybody is invited to participate. No entry form is required. Just step out in the road. I thought the peace sign was a nice addition.

Normally there are more ghosts than people hanging out in the Buncom. All it takes is three flickering apparitions. The situation changes dramatically on Buncom Day in late May when the annual Buncom Day Parade takes place and the town’s population soars to 500. I’ve now been three times. If I am not off gallivanting, I’ll be there again next year. Guaranteed.

Where else could I step onto the street and become part of a parade, buy a scrumptious pulled pork sandwich from the local Lion’s Club, or bet a buck on where a pullet is going to poop?

But there was more this year— I had responsibility. The Friends of Ruch Library (FORL) was having a book sale and my wife Peggy has become president of the organization. Being First Man meant I had duties, heavy duties like carrying boxes and tables. Brawn, not brains, was what Peggy required (that, and our pickup truck).

Peggy and fellow board members staffed the Friends of the Ruch Library book sale. One of Ruch's three buildings, the long abandoned Post Office was their venue.

Peggy and fellow volunteers from Friends of the Ruch Library staffed the book sale. One of Ruch’s three buildings, the long abandoned Post Office, was their venue.

Inside books were neatly arranged on the tables I had delivered. Check out the prices!

Inside books were neatly arranged on the tables I had delivered. Check out the prices! Paperbacks were going at five for a dollar, current hardbacks for a dollar fifty.

For the uninitiated, Buncom is located in the Applegate Valley of southern Oregon about 20 miles west of Medford. It was a booming gold rush town during the 1850s and later became a regional supply center. But that all ended with the advent of the automobile, or horseless carriage as it would have been known then. All that remains today are three vacant buildings, and, of course, the ghosts.

BTW, it’s weed-whacking time here at the ranch. Each day I march forth bravely with my weed-whacker. This morning Peggy gave me a bright pink water bottle to carry.

“So it won’t get lost,” she said. It sounds so much better than, “So you won’t lose it.” We’ve learned to blame inanimate objects rather than each other when things disappear. Keys hide and glasses mysteriously show up when they are ready to show up. But back to the pink bottle…

“But people will think I’m a princess,” I complained. I won’t report Peggy’s response.

Mini-VW Van had it's adult equivalent, painted exactly the same. And yes the 200 yard parade goes in both directions.

Mini-VW Van had its adult equivalent, painted exactly the same. Maybe it’s Mom. And, yes, the 200 yard parade goes in both directions.

Horses used to help harvest timber.

Whoa, horsey. You can hire horses to help you harvest timber on your property. Or enter them in a parade.

You saw horsey going. Here it is coming, looking rather proud, I might add.

You saw horsey going. Here it is coming, looking rather proud, I might add.

The parade is also a good excuse to walk your dog, and show off your orange hair.

The parade is also a good excuse to walk your dog, and show off your red hair. Small horses bring up the rear.

There was even a white mule that carried a sign urging people to take a hike.

There was a white mule with freckles that carried a sign urging people to take a hike.

Daughters of the American Revolution participating in a southern Oregon parade.

Even the DAR  had a representative, this one from the Latgwa Chapter. With her lacy black umbrella, I thought she would  fit right into a Mardi Gras celebration.

Every parade needs a Grand Marshall. She even carried a handmade sign announcing who she was. A writer for the Medford Tribune was along for the ride.

Every parade needs a Grand Marshal. Peggy Dover filled the position. Sitting on the right and carrying a handmade sign announcing her name, Peggy is a writer for the Medford Tribune.

Old cars galore participate in the parade. This caddy featured a panda.

Old cars galore participate in the parade. This caddy featured a panda who waved at me as the car drove by. Or maybe he was trying to escape.

When the old cars weren't parading, they were parked for one and all to admire. There is a class to these cars that their modern equivalents just can't seem to match. Or am i just showing my age?

When the old cars weren’t parading, they were parked for one and all to admire. There is a class to these cars that their modern equivalents just can’t seem to match.

Here's a side view of the REO Hotrod which would have been produced in Lansing Michigan.

Here’s a side view of the REO Hotrod, which would have been produced in Lansing Michigan.

And check out this beauty. To my auto hobbyist friends… is this a Model A or a Model T?

And check out this beauty. I believe it is a Model A, but I am sure my internet friend who are old car enthusiasts will correct me if I am wrong. (grin)

This guy could decorate my yard anytime, if I didn't have to do the work that went along with it. These antique autos are truly labors of love.

This guy could decorate my yard anytime, if I didn’t have to do the work that comes with it. These antique autos are truly labors of love.

In case you are wondering, Buncom is out in the country. You know you are 'out West' when you see the barbed wire.

If you needed a break from the Buncom Day festivities, all you needed to do was glance at the surrounding countryside. The barbed wire says that you are ‘Out West.’

Or stop and smell the wild roses...

Or stop and smell the wild roses…

Last year I featured the Chicken Splat contest on my post about Buncom Day, so I will close with it this year. Numbered squares are placed in the bottom of the chicken cage. You bet on which square the chicken will poop on. NEXT BLOG: Back to Santorini.

Last year I featured the Chicken Splat contest on my post about Buncom Day, so I will close with it this year. Numbered squares are placed in the bottom of the chicken cage. You bet on which square the chicken will poop on. High stake’s gambling, it isn’t. NEXT BLOG: Back to Santorini.

 

 

24 comments on “Back to Buncom… At Home in Oregon

  1. “We’ve learned to blame inanimate objects rather than each other when things disappear.”—Ha, I love that. Always best to blame something that can’t defend itself. 😉

    Sounds like a great day and a great time. Thanks for taking us along.

    • I’ve been told that in the midwest, they use cows. 🙂 Of course you need a bigger pen and larger squares. Be sure to check your chickens. Let me know the results. Laughing. –Curt

  2. The yellow truck. I want the yellow truck. And I must ask — the REO Hotrod? Could that have been the source of the name for REO Speedwagon? (I was going to link to one of their songs, but then I listened to some of their songs, and decided against it.)

    I love these little festivals, usually more than extravaganzas. Who’s keeping up the buildings in Buncom? Does someone “own” the town now, as sometimes happens? Or do volunteer crews keep after things that need doing? It’s a town and a tradition worth preserving, that’s for sure.

    • I believe, Linda, that REO speed wagon may have adopted the name. BTW, the O stands for Old, the name of the founder, which made its way into Oldsmobile.

      A couple bought the property, take care of the upkeep, and created Buncom Day. Pretty special when you think about it. –Curt

    • Heck, I think they should run it a third time, Bruce. In fact I am no so sure that some of the participants don’t. I think I saw that little VW van zip by at least three times. –Curt

  3. Love this parade: old cars, old people, and old tall tales probably! I grew up in small towns, attending a school that housed grades 1 thought 12 in one building! And I still love the smallness of it all. Glad Peggy is involved with books. I, too, am now on the board of Friends of the Knox County Library. Just another excuse to read and draw more people into the fold.

  4. The mini VW van is awesome!! The Portland Rose Festival would love to have it in the Grand Floral Parade – Please reach out to me if you’re interested in participating!

    • Hi Katie. I don’t personally know the VW folks who were in the parade but the organizers of Buncom Day could probably put you in contact. Here’s the email: gro.mocnub@ssenorab. -Curt

  5. Pingback: Alaska’s Fur Rendezvous: From Outhouse Races to Sled Dogs | Wandering through Time and Place

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