It's Almost County Fair Time
I love the Clark County fair! I’ve been going to it since I was nine-years-old. Every summer, my parents used the fair as a bargaining chip with a list of extra chores I could do to make money for the rides. I don’t do the rides anymore, but there’s still something irresistible about the fair all these years later! We can see the fairgrounds from I-5 and as soon as the carnival sets up the Ferris Wheel and the latest rides, my imagination begins to stir.
Even before the fair opens I can smell the aroma of fair food, which is one of the main draws for me. That delicious fragrance of grilled hamburgers, fried onions and deep fried corn dogs wafting through the air carrying with it culinary reminders that there’s the church pie booth and another vendor that makes fresh soft chocolate ice cream. On fair day I get my yearly quota of carbohydrates and grease.
In August when the nostalgic wave comes over me, I have to get there. I can’t miss seeing the animals and almost every year a calf or a litter of piglets is born. I’ve never met a farmer I didn’t like and I’m always amazed at the dedication farm kids have taking care of the livestock. I think the fair to a 4-H member is like the academy awards. They certainly deserve more than ribbons.
I was raised in the country and I’ve got manure in my nostrils and hay in my blood. I love the smell of barns, the sight of rich brown soil plowed in perfect rows, the contented cluck of chickens, the soothing sound of happy cows and the sheer joy of frisky horses. When I was a child we lived on a ghost farm in Salmon Creek, just a mile from Salmon Creek Middle School. I never saw a ghost there, but it was like a ghost town that’s void of the life that had once made it a lively town. This farm was void of the animals and all the buildings stood vacant of farm life. That allowed me to experience the joy of being a farm girl without having to do the work!
My parents rented the farmhouse. The family that owned it had decided to sell off just the animals because the property was too valuable to sell. With good renters in their house, they were off to Japan and we spent seven heavenly years “on the farm.”
Our ghost farm was surrounded by farm families with real farms and I grew up adoring them. Because I’m an animal lover I spent a lot of time at the farm next door to ours. The Hathaway farm had cows, chickens, goats, pigs and a horse. I loved to pretend I was a farmer! I remember one day I was grooming Bonnie, the Hathaway’s goat. As I brushed her I got the child-like notion to cut her beard. I was never allowed to cut my doll’s hair or my younger sister’s for that matter, but I somehow knew Bonnie wouldn’t mind. I ran home and got Mom’s sewing scissors and proceeded to cut off most of the beard. I was right about Bonnie not minding, but I hadn’t thought about Mrs. Hathaway.
Soon after the grooming session I was face-to-face with Mrs. Hathaway and my mom. In a very kind way it was explained to me that I had narrowly missed cutting the skin that hangs in the middle of a goat’s beard. Had I cut that, poor Bonnie could have bled to death.
All this talk of animals brings me back to the reason I wrote this essay. Your local county fair is waiting for you. I hope you get your fill of fair food, fun and farm life. See you there!