Todays post in kind of different. I’m kind of waxing philosophical after a visit to a great American tradition. Robbie and I went to the Iosco County Fair the other day. We hadn’t been to a county fair in years. We had an afternoon, and we saw a blurb in a local grocery store bulletin board, and we thought, “Let’s take an hour or two, and wander around the fair.”
We are so glad we did. We saw all the Grand Champion cows, pigs, and sheep, amongst other farm animals which were all best in show. The names of their owners/keepers were posted over their pens. Vital information like starting weight, finishing weight, home farm, and their names, (I liked Elvis Pigsley the best) were posted. The young people who were their keepers/owners took care of them. Cleaning the stalls, watering them, hosing them down. They really were giving them tender loving care. These youngsters were so very nice also, if a child wanted to pet the animal, they’d get the animal up and move it near the edge of the pen so the kids could get a feel and pet them. If you wanted any information about the animal, they were polite and gave you from A to Z how their prized porker took the blue ribbon.
The midway was full of the little ones eating cotton candy, walking hand in hand with Mom or Dad. The rides were pretty tame, but, the kids loved them. Dinosaurs and alligators seem to have taken over for the new carousel or mini roller coaster characters. They had a “scrambler” ride, at least that’s what I remember it as, they call it something else now.
They had the midway games too. It only took me one dart and I broke the balloon and got Robbie a stuffed animal. I guess “cupie dolls” are out of fashion these days, but, that’s OK. I could have dipped for a duck, thrown a ball at a furry creature 8 feet away, or tried to throw a tiny ring around the neck of a glass bottle. I passed on those, since I had already proved my skill with the dart. And, who wants another stuffed animal, huh?
And, the food. Oh my heavens! I forgot the food at the fair. There was BBQ, there was pizza, there was Italian sausage, hot dogs, burgers, smothered french fries, the aforementioned cotton candy, elephant ears with powdered sugar, and lord knows more stuff that started at 500 calories or better. Robbie and I opted for the deep fried cinnamon bun, (that had 500 calories beat before it hit the paper plate) and a chicken burrito, and a banana/strawberry smoothie. Now, doesn’t that sound just yummie? BUT, gimme a break, that’s what you do at the fair isn’t it. Do you remember?
There were quilting lessons and demonstrations, there were other crafts exhibited, baking and cooking sections. And, I‘m missing some of the entertainment, like the wild world of animals show.
When we left, we were both kind of energized by the experience. We both talked how enjoyable it was. And, as I was driving home, it struck me that tradition, in this country, ought to be respected and experienced. As we walked through the fair, everyone had a smile on their face. Everyone was enjoying themselves. The young people handling the animals were very responsible and polite. It’s very clear that raising these creatures is hard work. It takes time and commitment. These kids had that in abundance.
In this rural community, a small fair really, I was reminded of values, community, respect, enjoying life, and principles. I don’t want to make too much of it. I hope you don’t think I am, but, this day affected me in a very positive way.
Given some of the dysfunction we are seeing in Washington, and Lansing and a lot of places around the country and world, a return to safe and stable sounds pretty good to me. We saw no evidence of political agenda’s– no defund the police, no protesters, no causes, no distrust, no animosity, no name calling. I found this experience at the Iosco County Fair exported me to a different place. A place I found much more pleasant.
I came away from the Fairgounds near Hale, Michigan with hope. If you’ve got some time, and you find a county fair nearby, give it a visit. My bet is, you won’t be disappointed. Thanks for letting me get on the soap box a little…stay well out there.