Sunday, September 15, 2013


I'm soaking my tired toes while checking out all I've missed on the internet this weekend. While I'm stuck in one spot and my fingers are itching to type after four days away, here's my running tally of this year's Fair events: 1 cup of tea dumped in my lap when muskets fired unexpectedly on Antique Hill, 2 proposals of marriage (NOT from drunk people, which is a first) 1 costume that reeks of chicken grease and 3 more costumes that simply smell like woodsmoke and sweat, 6 delicious, piping hot doughnut holes for breakfast, 1 sleepless night in a camper, 8 mistakes made while making change in the Post Office (at least that's how many were pointed out to me), 3 pies baked by yours truly in a fireplace, 2 swollen feet and 1 blister from tottering around in horrid, french-heeled victorian boots, 1 desperate collector who peeled our display postcard off the wall when we ran out, 10,000,000,000,000 people who smugly informed me that THEIR grandmother went to a one-room school house, more mud than you can shake a stick at, 5 people mistaking me for Kathi Terami, 2 pudding shots slipped into my hand by a giggling gal who shall remain nameless, 3 (surprise!) pregnant friends, 1 night on the town with Mick and Erin, many hugs from loved ones who I haven't seen in far too long and too many shared stories to count, 3 blue ribbons, 1 red ribbon and 2 green champion ribbons for my kiddos, 0 bars of cell phone service with 10,000,000,000,000 people complaining about it, 1 box of kleenex that Elaine Howe went through blowing her nose this afternoon after she caught cold in the rain, 2 torn knees in Ira's stockings, 1 clogging show that was canceled and then NOT canceled, 10 of my lovely cloggers who showed up anyhow, 3 elderly gentlemen that actually seemed oddly delighted by the idea of being paddled in the school, 1 carnival worker who said she'd punch my face in if I kept looking at her husband, 4 rides on the bumper cars for Eli and his pal Parker, 2 Dixie Cups of home-made ice cream, 8 glasses of fresh cider (don't worry, not all at once) countless laughs, countless tiny dramas, countless good times. Another fair, come and gone. Along with my tally, I'd like to add WHY the heck this little, country fair is a big deal to me. Because it IS. Because it's a point of pride. Because it's my home. Because it's my yearly check mark- I always consider it the no-turning-back gateway to Fall. Walking along the Midway on my way out tonight, I looked up at the hills and there's no denying it...the trees are definitely changing, and above the odor of maple cotton candy and fried goodies, a new, crisp smell is JUST noticeable, that distinctive Autumn scent that we all recognize but can't describe exactly. If memories had a scent, I think they'd smell like this. It seems to be a time to recollect days gone by... The old timers often fondly recall the Tunbridge Fair dancehall, with the big sign on the front, "Welcome To Dreamland" and how you'd meet your sweetheart there to waltz around under a full moon. I've heard these stories such a long time now, I'm almost wistfully remembering Dreamland myself. In 1867, impressed by the quality of exhibits and agricultural shows, the Lieutenant Governor labeled it a 'Little World's Fair'...the name stuck and people have long since admired the beauty of the spot and the wonders captured there. And, of course, there are the less-than-idyllic tales about those wild Saturday nights, the fights, the Girly Shows, and the general mayhem that used to go on, which was apparently the stuff of legends in these parts! I adore these stories, the good AND bad because I'm intensely curious about what we all remember... WHAT it is that stands out in our minds as the years go by. So much history. So unique and TUNBRIDGE. I find, as I have reunion after reunion with long lost folks in my life, every September, the Fair turns out to be a time I reflect on the entire year. (Since everyone you meet asks what you've been up to and how you've been.) It's the LIFE TALLY. The time to describe to others, and even yourself perhaps, just WHAT you did or didn't do, said, lost, gained, thought, felt, loved and remember about the last 365 days. And you want to hear your friend's highs and lows as well. So People, that's what the Fair is...counting up the memories that stick, another 1,000 words or less. Go.

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