Fair fall you

Cogitation 30/208 Saturday 27 July 2019 This morning we walked in warming weather to breakfast at Goshen Family Restaurant on the outskirts of town–four miles round-trip.

What’s nice about this destination is that we can walk there on the Winona Railway Trail. The trail runs alongside still-in-use train tracks but stays away from street traffic.

Along the way we were enveloped in a pleasant breeze, some shade, birds singing, and the sight of a Monarch butterfly flying a pattern nothing short of ethereal. A train passed by on our return. Oh yes, our shared (humongous) omelet and toast was most satisfying; it came with a side of oatmeal.

Tuesday at the fair

On Tuesday we went to the Elkhart County 4-H Fair in Goshen; it was senior day, with free admission. We were able to take in only a fraction of the many offerings–though we found some spots of shade to re-energize for what turned out to be a seven-mile walk day. The fair ends today after a nine day run. We’ll skip the final event, a demolition derby.

Details can be found at 4HFAIR.ORG. It lives up to its billing as one of the largest county fairs in the country.

The fair included all things agricultural and more: 4-H club exhibits, major attractions, amusements, evening concerts, harness racing, commercial displays, rodeo, tractor pull, even a demolition derby, and foods galore; it’s a chore/fun-filled holiday for all ages.

People on Food Row queue for lunch. We shared a fish and chips basket at the Exchange Club of Elkhart County–followed by ice cream, each with our own share..

As we walked around the grounds I thought of the movie, Meet Me at the Fair (1953 Musical Film). The movie, set in 1904, featured medicine show huckster Doc Tilbee who took Tad, an orphan, under his wing. Tad escaped from an orphanage where bad conditions (the result of political graft) are being investigated. Doc shows that a shifty scamp can also be a decent human being.

Current day fairs no longer feature the medicine show con artists of old wild west movies and musicals, though there’s a tiny, almost infinitesimal, aspect that survives in some commercial vendor demonstrations.

This week’s fair was jam-packed with activities, people, 4-H club exhibits, and queues for food. The theme, “4-H the information highway to the future” aptly describes the import and impact of such an annual event. Long live the concerted, year after year dedication of many children, youth and adults to making county fairs the worthwhile and fun events they are.

I think “Boris” would be a good name for this horse.
Quilt garden at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Two books I’m reading

Truthteller, by Stephen Davis (Exisle Publishing, 2019), and How to Walk to School, by Jacqueline Edeleberg and Susan Kurland (Bowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009). I need the second book to calm my jitters between chapters of the first one.

Truthteller is an investigative reporter’s journey through a world of truth prevention, fake news and conspiracy theories. I picked up the book at the end of our stay in the UK earlier this year and am just now finding time and energy to dig into it. A subhead on the back cover says, “There is a war on truth and the liars are winning.” The text says, “The rich, the powerful and the elected have an increasingly large arsenal of weapons to prevent the truth from coming out–to bury it, warp it, twist it to suit their purposes. ” I’ve said it before, “God save us all.”

How to Walk to School is a heartening recount of how two parents teamed up with a principal and six other women to transform a severely struggling Chicago public school, Nettelhorst Elementary, into a much-lauded educational community (look up the school online). The story is a testament to what can be done within a community to turn around a seemingly fatally fractured institution. Neither book is easy reading, though both are compelling, insightful, moving, swathed with Eureka! moments.

Fair fall you. (Good befall you; good luck to you; sweet melodies enthrall you).


4 thoughts on “Fair fall you

  1. Fairs remind me of fall. This fair you talk about seems like a dandy fair. I remember mom talking about getting ready for the Tavistock fair learning their school march and cheer they had to recite. Then they marched with a banner stating they were the Cassel school. Remember any of that?
    Fairs are fun times.


    1. Ah, yes, the Tavistock Fall Fair, memorable for me for my first Ferris wheel ride–and probably a hot dog. I only vaguely recall mom’s stories about Cassel school’s prep for the fair. Where’s Verlie’s column in The Tavistock Gazette when we need it? Thanks for the memories!


  2. Hello John,

    We are looking forward to seeing you this coming Friday and will give you a call when we leave Shipshewana, probably arriving in Goshen by early afternoon. Your hike along the Winona Railway Trail sounded very nice as well as the sumptuous breakfast at the Goshen Family Restaurant. Maybe next summer we can come visit you during the Elkhart County Fair which sounds like fun. Last week we were in Evart, Michigan for the Dulcimer Festival and learned that they have had a continuous County Fair since 1865…an impressive history! When I lived in the Twin Cities I always enjoyed going to the Minnesota State Fair.

    The horse that you would name “Boris” does bear an uncanny likeness to Britain’s Brexit promoter…who will now become Prime Minister. I cannot imagine that the Queen is very pleased about this but she is the epitome of decorum and good manners. The Truthteller book must be informative yet upsetting to read. We have a con artist leading our Ship-of-State and the truth does not matter to him. He “Lies like a Rug” as we used to say! We were disappointed to see the Supreme Court side with him on his “Emergency” funding of the border wall. What a waste of money!

    Monty & Ginger



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