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.
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.
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.
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).