Friday, July 27, 2012

Get your sweet corn here!!

It is almost time for the county fair!  Woohoo!   I close my eyes and picture myself walking into the fairgrounds.  I can almost smell that tantalizing  combination of corndogs, popcorn, corn on the cob, and ohmygosh don't even get me started about the funnel cakes.  And manure.  Giggle. Well let's face it, you do get the aroma from the animal stalls when the wind is just right!  But that's ok, it's all a part of the charm of the fair.  
After I married my husband, I began working with him at the corn booth, run by the men's group from our church.  It was always a lot of fun, and I felt like part of the fair being a worker as opposed to an attendee.  Kinda felt important. Pretty sad right, that selling corn makes me feel special!!!  
                                  This is a picture the day before the fair started, looking out from the booth.  
                                             My husband had to repair the roof and I had to drop off my entries.  
I really enjoyed watching the people come and go from the safety of my little wooden structure. 
I'm not really a crowd person, so this was perfect!  

While slip-sliding on the butter drippings on the floor, I could look out and see the excited fairgoers, the animals coming and going, the tractors moving to and fro. I listened to the music and watched the colorful ferris wheel spin around and around - in the almost always perfectly blue sky. At night the glistening lights of the ferris wheel sparkled against the starry, black night sky, creating a beautiful kaleidoscope of color, like never-ending fireworks. It was almost magical.  When things got slow I would sneak off to the back of the building to enjoy a yummy, salty, double-dipped in butter ear of corn.  Mmmmmm.  Ok, I'll confess, actually by the time the night was over two or three.  One character from our group, Jon, always wears this crazy yellow rubber hat - shaped like an ear of corn of course - on his head and calls out to the people "Sweet corn, get your delicious sweet corn" for hours.  This isn't him, obviously, but I just had to include a picture so you could get the idea. I loved watching the people's reactions to his hat! 

I wished that time would slow down so the day would last longer.  You could almost feel the excitement in the air. Seeing the joy on the faces of the children just warmed my heart.  I always wished I was raised in the country rather than in a small town. I do know for certain that I am a country girl at heart.  Our grandparents took us "downhome" every summer to spend time with all the relatives in the little southern farm towns, and I think this had a huge effect on me.
After about five years of working in the corn booth I decided to venture out to see the sights.  I would spend hours visiting all the wonderful cows and horses and sheep and chickens. I took so many pictures of the animals, I just love them.  My grandchildren loved the animals too.  

I managed to find my way to the Open Class Building, the one with the jams and baked goods and quilts and knitting, and . . . sigh, I felt like I was stepping into Heaven, country style.  Over the next few years I began spending more time marveling at the magnificent handwork than I did selling corn.  I dared to dream that someday I would enter something.  I was sure my stuff would never be good enough, but it was really fun to just imagine and dream about it.  I will enter something . . . someday. 

Four years ago, I did it.  I don't know what came over me, but I marched into the fair office, requested a fair book, asked a bunch of dumb questions on how to enter, figured out the different  categories, and turned in ten items.  I was certain nothing would get a ribbon, but just being a part of it all made me so happy and excited.  On judging day I showed up with my notebook and camera (and nervous stomach) and watched the judging, listening to the comments. 
 I prayed that God would let me live long enough to win just one blue ribbon.  Well, I didn't win one blue ribbon. At the end of the day I had 6, yes 6 blue ribbons, as well as three red, and one white.  OHMYGOSH!  Then I thought about my prayer and said "oh oh", I should have phrased that prayer differently!!!   The next year I won three blue ribbons, and last year I won 10, as well as a few red and white ribbons.  Gosh, I had a lot of things entered last year, didn't I? I even worked a shift last year in the open class building, and now you will  find me at the fair pretty much every day, God willing. I have already purchased my season pass!  What is really funny is that my daughter, a city girl for sure, absolutely LOVES the fair and was with me almost every day last year. She is buying supplies for the grandkids to make their projects, and is planning on taking the week off this year. Even though she didn't have the exposure to the true "downhome living on a farm lifestyle" I did as a child, she still loves it all.  I guess it is true that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! I can't tell you how happy that makes me.

So here we are again.  I am so busy with mom and everything that I really don't have much time to make things to enter.  I'm so sad that this year I didn't even get to make jam, but as I looked around the house I was finding projects here and there that I have made over the last year that  just might have a chance.  I filled out my paperwork yesterday, and my husband and I took a ride out to the County Fair Office to turn it in.

I also entered two of my grandchildren.  Two years ago my granddaughter entered for the first time and won a blue ribbon and a red ribbon!!  I can honestly say I was more excited about her ribbons than I was my own.  As I tell her, it really doesn't matter if we win a ribbon or not, it's just so much fun being a part of it . . . but I would be lying if I said I wasn't praying for at least one blue ribbon.

Many thanks again to Meri for sharing all her wonderful images. Do visit her blog, you'll love it!