Past, future come together at area fairPublished 10:49am Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting
“Where did you get that piece of cherry pie?”
“It was in the refrigerator. Someone had hidden it in the vegetable tray.”
“I didn’t think you’d look there.”
“I looked everywhere.”
Driving by the Bruces
I have two wonderful neighbors — both named Bruce — who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: a container covered by a dishcloth holds good food.
1. That very few of the prizes found in every box of Cracker Jack are edible.
2. If at first I don’t succeed, I need a new battery.
3. You cannot try on another’s eyeglasses without thinking them blind.
Walking at the Brown County Fair
I was sweating the small stuff. I was helping herd five grandchildren around the fairgrounds on a hot day.
It had been a good summer — no tornado sirens. On the way to the fair, I had driven by an old truck carrying a bumper sticker reading, “I’m retired. Go around me.”
As I watched the kids go on wild rides named things like Call Your Lawyer, I had time to wonder why it is that guys’ shorts get longer while girls’ shorts become shorter.
We took a break from the rides and competitive eating to stop by the cattle barn. We watched Holsteins at a lactation station. The cows were being milked. The grandkids were momentarily mesmerized.
I remembered the days I’ve spent milking cows as I watched my grandchildren. I saw the past and the future simultaneously.
The Minnesota State Fair
There might be too many people at Minnesota’s great get together. I work at the Steele County Fair each year. In 2011, 306,597 people attended that fair and 2012 showed an increase to 321,926. I’m not sure how a “free” fair is able to arrive at such figures, but fairgoers were in abundance. The Minnesota State Fair had 234,384 people show up one day. At least one of whom was staggering across the fairgrounds while singing poorly, but loudly, “Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above. Don’t fence me in. Let me ride through the wide-open country that I love. Don’t fence me in.”
I remember when Machinery Hill had machinery. My father went there to kick the tires of farm equipment that he’d never be able to afford to own.
This year, there is a scarecrow at the Horticulture Building named and modeled after me. It’s not just the crowds that make the State Fair a scary place.
A hummingbird flew past a turkey. The extreme birds drew me outside to enjoy the day. I danced the Funky Chicken with two left feet to music only I could hear. “A-well-a, everybody’s heard about the bird. Bird, bird, bird, b-bird’s the word.” The song, “Surfin’ Bird,” by the Trashmen included the wise words that guide my life, “Papa-ooma-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow.” Goldfinches flew from Jerusalem artichokes into a maple like leaves flying back into a tree. The air above the yard filled with feathers. Swallows were in a feeding frenzy, eating flying insects. My wife and I ate ice cream on the deck. One of the swallows hit me with a dropping. We all have to go some time. I thought about getting a tissue and wiping the poop off, but by that time, the swallow could have been a mile away. As Eliot Porter wrote, “Sometimes you can tell a large story with a tiny subject.”
Leon Schoenrock of New Richland writes, “I enjoyed your discussion of how to eat corn (on-the-cob) in your column. I have a way of doing it that only a farmer could appreciate. That is to go lengthwise down the rows, but only after taking the headlands off each end.”
Roger Batt of Algona sends this, “People say a house burned up. Others say the house burned down. Which is it? Does milkweed juice really work on a wart?” Roger, I believe they’re equivalent. If the house burned to the ground, it burned down. If it burned to the ground, it burned completely, so it also burned up. Similarly, when you drink down a cup of coffee, you drink it completely, so you drink it up. I’m no herbalist nor do I play an MD in the newspaper, but I’ve heard from many readers saying that milkweed sap eliminates warts.
Steve Borge of Albert Lea told me that when he bent over to pick up a can of varnish, his cellphone slipped from his pocket and fell into the varnish. It was quite a finish for the cellphone.
A kind word grows larger with time.