Relishing fair memories and hoping for new ones

Published 9:25 am Monday, October 6, 2014

This week as I passed by a field completely covered in beautiful goldenrod, I said out loud to nobody in particular, “My, there’s a lot of misery in that field!”

I was alone and I admit I do talk to myself occasionally. I don’t feel bad about it or even think myself silly for doing so. Our late managing editor, Al Hansen, always said when you talk to yourself you are speaking to someone on your own intellectual level.

Anyway, although the sight of a field of yellow goldenrod was admittedly lovely, I was thinking of the sneezes and watery eyes for those who are allergic to the various weeds, flowers and trees this time of year.

When we see the goldenrod blooming, we know autumn has arrived and locals immediately connect it to the parish fair. In the Mile Branch buildings there are usually numerous bouquets of wildflowers including goldenrod.

This is also about the time I plan to trim back my overgrown flower beds and realize the weeds growing profusely are goldenrod and they will be beautiful very shortly. So I just let them go until the blooming period is past. Fortunately I’m not allergic to them.

My poor flower beds are just another of the things that go neglected as I age and my energy goes lagging. I don’t think it is so much a lack of energy as the fact that I am becoming lazier as I age. I had my yearly check-up and everything was normal, so laziness has to be the reason!

(An update for those who have been keeping up — I have stuck to my diet, lost eight pounds and have two to go — and I am back in most of my clothes.)

As we anticipate the fair, I find people of three minds about it. Some don’t like it, never go and always miss it. Some feel themselves on middle ground and can take it or leave it. And then there are those who love the fair and wouldn’t miss it unless providentially hindered. They are also often the hundreds of volunteers who step up and keep it going every year.

I have loved the fair since I was a child, and I guess I get it honestly. My Grandpa Albert Lang was pretty blind with cataracts in his old age, but the one thing he never missed was the fair. He would get dressed and go down to the highway, and in just a few minutes somebody he knew would come along going to the fair and pick him up. It was safe to do that in those days.

After he got there, he would find a seat and his friends and relatives would seek him out and come and chat with him. He loved that. To him that was the fair. When it was time to leave, somebody would come along and bring him home.

In his younger days and even into old age, grandpa would play in the old fiddler’s contest — which used to really be a contest. I have photos of him participating in earlier days.

The first year after he died, I did a pencil sketch of him and put it in the art show — just so he would be at the fair.

My dad was the same way — especially after he retired. You could nearly always find him at Mile Branch reliving the “good old days.” The only exception would be when he went to hear the “fiddling” program on stage.

Mama liked the fair, too, but not nearly as much as my dad.

Back when I was in high school, I would sew something for the fashion show on stage. Since I was a little girl in 4-H Club, I have entered things in the fair.

Entering something and winning a ribbon makes it real.

So many good memories of the fair for me and hopefully many more to come.

There have been a lot of changes on the fairgrounds as workmen have spent time adding new things. One I am pleased about is the new restrooms at the entrance to the midway. A lot shorter walk from Mile Branch for the old folks to go to the bathroom.

I have advocated a public restroom in Mile Branch for years. One could be built to fit in with the rest of the buildings. After all, who spends the most time in the settlement? It’s the older people who often find it hard to walk for very long.

I’m looking forward to all the excitement of another year and hoping for clear, beautiful autumn days – our famous “fair” weather!