Every fall, The General and I earnestly promise to attend one of the local agricultural fairs – and then somehow it doesn’t happen. Usually, I’ve had to work and then we forget or get absorbed in the minutiae that comes with keeping the house going. In other words, it hasn’t exactly been a priority.
But lately there has been so much sadness around us. The kind of sadness that presses down on you, making it hard to take a decent breath; it presents itself upon awakening, I can feel that tiny jungle drum in my heart, warning me that nothing in life is static or safe. I know this feeling well and I understand that it has been re-ignited by the passing of friends and family of friends, lately, by world news, giving “fresh hell” a whole new meaning. But in order to be happy now, right now, I can only focus on the everyday things that delight me. Obviously, we’ve all heard this before via Oprah, the Buddha himself or those dreadful Facebook memes but it’s still valid.
Which brings us full circle to the agricultural fair.
This year we actually attended and it was the perfect day from start to finish, a crisp, bite-of-an-apple kind of morning, piercing sunshine and a slight chill in the air. We stood with others as a ramshackle but enthusiastic parade slowly passed, jewel toned suckers arcing through the air to squealing children and hilariously, the local dental office following them with more somberly received toothbrush missiles. Then the Scottish pipers appeared with their kilts and upholstered socks and this alone brought tears to my eyes. I leaned in to share this with The General but he was showing more than a passing interest in the tiny cars driven by Shriners, Fez tassels flying, as they buzzed around in circles, honking randomly.
Yes, there’s something for everyone at the fair.
For me, the highlight is always the animals and especially the sheep. Their candy pink noses and gums; their hilarious baaaas (and the fact that intriguingly, everyone has a distinctive voice, quite unlike his neighbours’); their feet, stuffed into what seem to be (cloven) tap shoes; and their wool! Everyone was freshly shampooed and coiffed, with a few refined fellows even rocking the British barrister look. (Or, a young Liberace – we couldn’t decide).
And who could not be uplifted by young children earnestly holding the animals in place for a judge’s inspection and many of them receiving ribbons or trophies with such excitement that yes, I was teary again. But in a good way.
We bought some fresh apples from a nice couple on the way out and shared surprisingly good French fries, piping hot and heavily vinegared. The General and I laughed a lot that day (nothing unusual there of course) and as simple as it was, I felt open and restored.