Breland: Fair brings memories, meetings with friends, relatives

Published 12:20 pm Friday, October 28, 2022

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Friday came and I knew it was my day to go to the fair. I had put it off because it was really cold outside. I am not endeared of cold weather and I knew from the weatherman, warmer days were coming.

In years past, I would have been there every day, but time has gone by and I can’t take as much fair fun as in the days of yore. My legs get tired too quickly. I particularly wanted to go to the art show because my niece had paintings there … all with ribbons!

I haven’t had any paintings in the art show for a couple of years. Although I am still dabbing at canvases, it has gotten to be too much trouble for me to load and unload paintings. The show was smaller than usual, but I saw a lot of new names on paintings I haven’t seen before. This was thrilling to see new painters in the show.

I spent most of my time in Mile Branch, sitting with my siblings and watching people. Saw lots of folks I haven’t seen in a while. One was Lou Major Jr., who I worked with for many years at The Daily News.

Lou and I both went to work there in 1971. I started in early September and Lou graduated from college in December and came to work right away. During that era, we were still using manual typewriters.

Putting together the paper was a long process. The Internet was still in the future. We watched as technology moved along and typewriters were put away, replaced by computers. Before I retired, we were putting newspaper pages together on computers.

We worked in the same room many years and during that time, most employees were in a very close family-like relationship. So when I see one of them anytime, I am very glad. So many of them are gone now and exist only in our fond memories.

So as two still remaining, Lou and I are always glad to see each other. It was so good to catch up on our families and what was happening with each one. We spent a good time sitting in those rocking chairs on the porch chatting away.

I was also glad to see John Coykendall, who is at the Fair every year, coming from Tennessee, as he has done for many years. John and is wife Ashley, were in one of the kitchens cooking and making notes about the fair and people.

John’s book about Washington Parish people, their traditions and farming, has been a big seller. “Preserving Our Roots, My Journey to Save Seeds and Stories” can still be obtained from John.

My cousin, Terry Carline and her husband, Ernest, come every year from Plaquemine, and they were there Friday. I text her often, but it is seldom we are actually together. So it is a delight to bump into kinfolks at the fair and I saw a few others also.

I also saw Tricia Wood Thomas and her mother. Tricia grew up in the parish and is married to Lane Thomas. Lane’s mother, Mary Ellen Knight Thomas and I grew up together, living next door and best friends.

She owns Tricia’s Bridal Boutique in Franklinton, currently holds the title of Mrs. Louisiana United States and recently competed for the national title. Tricia was named second runner-up in the Mrs. United States pageant. This celebrates married women from across the country who are united by their service to family and community. She was at the fair wearing her Mrs. Louisiana banner.

Since I didn’t see everything at the fair, I was well pleased with all the photos on Facebook and meeting with some very interesting people.

Next year, maybe I will bring a power chair and get around to everything!

Retired as Associate News Editor, Bob Ann Breland writes a weekly column for The Daily News. You can email her at