For those who've been looking for their 'mention' on this blog...well, that's never guaranteed, but for those that are 'worthy' of one and know I talked to them about their possible inclusion, all I can say is: have patience, grasshoppers. I'm getting there, believe me. (If somebody out in the local area wants to come and evaluate and fix the fan belt while I go type...)
As many of you know, I grew up in a rural upbringing quite a bit different from what I know now, and even further still from what I want to live like in the future. It's not like I live in a metropolis now, but it is an entire galaxy away from what I did for most of my life prior to coming here. Consider it something akin to the Country Mouse wants to go live it up someday with the City Mouse or something. To paraphrase the Ben Folds song: right now, I'm rockin' the suburbs. But, Lord knows, the 'burbs is quite the evolutionary triumph for me and I'm relatively happy about how I got here.
Back in that small town of my 'wonder years', everything was essentially closed at 7pm (if you were lucky that the drive-in takeaway food diner had enough business to stay open even that late), everybody knew everybody else (and unfortunately also all of their personal dramas including abuses and affairs), the post office was open at 8am and all the mail was posted by 825am (leaving the clerk the rest of the day to drink umpteen cups of coffee and recount his unsold stamp inventory), the only thing residing in multiples there were the churches (Baptist, Christian, and Protestant, in no particular order), and (no, I am not making this up) you could still charge your gasoline and groceries on verbal credit only at the local, overly-priced convenience store and pay off that bill once a month. For some of you who have known me forever (well, at least as long as I am willing to admit, anyway), you know that absolutely nothing in that small town (or hell, any of the small towns that surround it) has changed except maybe a few more deaths and a few less births. You also know how determined I was to leave and never be 'that way' again...I was embarrassed I knew more about cows than Chaucer or Caruso, and positively mortified that I could perhaps die that way.
So those long-time friends and new found mates alike will have a good chuckle here with today's update. I recently went voluntarily to the North Carolina State Fair, spent the entire day there (and mostly in the crafts and livestock areas to boot), and absolutely adored it. No, I did not reinvest in cowboy boots (an item which I have not had in years due to a financial crunch, but I made a good sale at the time), nor did I meet some enterprising, single or handsome poultry farmer looking for an oddball wife. I did, however, relish something that time that I did not comprehend as a youngster who was quite literally dragged to these things before: there is a nature, a simplicity if you will, in the stamina of life at the Fair. The constancy in that the Fair represents a time capsule of where we've come from, and where we are going to, even if that means reminding us just a 100 years ago many of us were still in horsedrawn wagons and buggies.
Hay is hay, pigs are pigs, cotton candy will always be cotton candy. The Fair, no matter if it's local, state, regional or national, is The Fair. It's the original exhibition convention of all that year's work and toil and talent...whether it be a prized goat or a mammoth pumpkin.
The Fair has its own smells, like the addictively-sweet aroma of a freshly powder-sugared funnel cake, hot from the oil and dusted with cinnamon.
It also lures you in with some ungodly 'once a year' food concoctions, too, like Deep Fried Twinkies®, elephant ears, and Oreos®.
The Midway always has its young lovers having fights, and then making up, on the ferris wheel...with their massively oversized stuffed animals and balloons in tow.
The Crafts Barns feature the artisans and giftmakers teaching forgotten trades with ancient implements, to an audience of rapt would-be students frustrated with technology and throw-away goods.
And for the city folk, it's an opportunity to actually see if they can do 'the easy work' of living and working on a farm...even if that means trying to milk a cow for the first time and with a lot of 'hands-on' experience nearby.
But it's for the little kids who have come to their first-ever Fair that we should rejoice. Soon, perhaps all too soon, the family farm may be just a thing of distant memory to far too many of them. And with that disappearance would also go the small poultry farmers who bring in their chicks and ducks to the Fair, to an appreciative chorus of 'oohs' and 'ahhs' from all ages. Then we would all miss out on a chance to hold real baby chicks...and someday also watch our own young babes hold theirs in cupping yet trembling hands. (I admit it...I was having serious 'parent envy' at the children and young animals' petting barn.)
Truly, it was a great day to be alive and I can't wait to make it back there next year (if I can't find another Fair someplace sooner). While this may prove to you readers that they can't take the country out of the tomboy (girl), is also proves to me that it's the little things, too, that essentially give me the most pleasure. I'm very thankful I can understand and appreciate that fully now...and can smile knowing others do, too.
Oh, to have the Fair experience every day...hell, I'd settle for every weekend or even once a month...to have the joy of going and doing more of those wonderful things all the time, with some many others wanting to do exactly that same thing. To experience life firsthand...with all our God-given senses, learning and asking and trying and failing and trying again, with boundless curiousity...that's what life is all about anyway.