The Last Really Good Shack – # 32

Fall really was the best time of year when we lived in the shack. The weather was gorgeous, the woods filled with autumn color and many fall festivities to enjoy.
The first festival of the fall season was always the county fair. The fair grounds were in the middle of the county seat, old wooden barns and structures that were used for rodeos and for showing prize animals in the arenas.
But for those few days in September, the fences and barns were given a new coat of whitewash. The grounds would become the midway with all the brightly lit carnival rides and booths. The big show barns were filled with prize vegetables and fruit, beautiful glass jars of preserves and pickles, huge pumpkins and giant ears of corn, flower displays of mixed arrangements and gorgeous roses, primped and shown to perfection.
A barn for textiles and crafts was overflowing with hand pieced quilts, knitting and crochet work as delicate as lace, needlepoint and handwork with the tiniest stitches, it would make your eyes cross to look at them.
Small animals would be shown in the next big white barn. Rabbits of all colors and sizes, long hair and short, huge and pygmy. Then the poultry section with so many different kind of chickens, it would make your head spin. And one of my favorites was the specialty poultry showing tiny quail and golden pheasant and so many other birds I can’t even tell you.
Walking across behind the show ring, you would come to the stalls with the 4H or FFA kids and their livestock. Sheep and goats, pigs and bulls, milk cows and tiny calves – all being washed and combed, curried and trimmed and readied to show off in the big ring. Each of these kids had raised their animal and now would show it with hopes of winning a ribbon and selling it for market. Not to say they weren’t a little sentimental, but these young people were learning to be business people too. The higher the bid for your animal, the more money for college was put into your savings account.
Bob and I would always walk through and admire each of the display, checking to see if we knew the grand prize winners. It was a rural county with a small population, so we were bound to run into many friends. Bob would try to win me a stuffed animal at one of the booths. We would check out all the food vendors – he almost always would choose a sausage and I had to have my annual fair funnel cake. Nothing wrong with hot fried dough and a ton of powdered sugar!
After visiting with friends and walking through the midway rides, we would head back down the holler to our little shack in the Ozark woods filled with the scent of woodsmoke and the sound of owls.
Until next time …..