It was my first time to go to the North Carolina Mountain State Fair. What a fun day Jake and I had. We walked through exhibits of quilts and basketry and woodworking and 4H projects and animals. We watched pink piglets racing (So cute!) and a chain saw artist make a bear (Piercing loud! Never want to do that again.) and a magician (I paid a dollar to go up a ladder to peek into the wooden box where the beautiful assistant was folded around the swords thrust in.).
It was a nostalgic day for me, remembering October Fair days in Texas. When I was a kid, I loved getting a day off from school and going to the fairgrounds to see Big Tex, eat junkfood, and ride the rides. I loved the rides.
I was also remembering a day at a fair long ago, a day that was supposed to be my friend’s wedding day. When Jake and I arrived at her house, we found her crying. The groom had changed his mind. So the three of us went to the Indiana State Fair, which ironically had a special exhibit of wedding dresses through history. We did not ride any rides that sad day.
But back to the N.C fair: it sparked Jake’s memories about the Berrien Co. Youth Fair. For years every August he and his siblings took animals (pigs, sheep, cows) to exhibit and for a week he slept in a bunk tent with others who had to be there day and night to take care of their animals. He loved combing through the trash for money underneath the grandstands after the evening show (what fell out of people’s pockets), eating the big breakfast in the Jaycees’ tent, doing barrel races with his friend Ruby, (She needed someone to ride with her, and jump off her horse on to a barrel, then jump back on her horse when she came back around. Never heard that story before. Wish I could see young Jake doing that!) and he rode all the carnival rides. (That’s where he spent the money he found.)
Why did we love those rides so much? we wondered, as we walked around the NC fair. They are so loud and gaudy, just watching them makes us dizzy.
But we did enjoy the chairlift. We rode it twice, rising high above the noise and commotion.
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So, both yesterday and the day before I was a ‘tourist’ on a farm. We took our grandkiddoes to a large orchard farm to pick apples, something I’d always wanted to do. It was impressive, seeing all the fields of trees, all the varieties and beauty of those apples, and all those tractors — Oh, my. So much work.
Then the next day I visited a friend who runs a small greenhouse farm. She is brilliant in math and science, how she keeps track of all the stages of growing tomatoes, curly cucumbers, exotic eggplants, purple beans, beautiful lettuces and kales, gorgeous micro-greens and edible flowers for restaurants. Picking and packing and delivering and keeping all the financial records and taking care of employees and legal matters – Oh, my. So much work.
Farmers amaze me. I do not appreciate them enough.
Compared to them I look lazy.
But that’s okay, because I am in the chairlift stage of life.
I enjoy being a spectator at fairs and farms, cheering for others, cherishing our stories, and thanking God for it all.