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Perception: Milestones and Minutiae

© 2013 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee [caption id="attachment_1998" align="alignleft" width="1000"]101st Hymers Fall Fair 101 st  Annual   Hymers Fall Fair    Banner courtesy of hymersfair.com[/caption] Perception is everything, isn't it? Hot-wired , the air was crackling, dry and cold, it felt like the end of a summer lightning-storm on September 1st,  perhaps a bit too chilly and refreshing.  Regardless, off to the Hymer's  Fall Fair we went,  hoping Winter 2013 would hold off gobsmacking us  for a few hours;  if nothing else out of respect for dedicated and happy annual fair-goers. A complete contradiction to the bright, smoking heat from only a couple of days ago, skies were dull, fast-scudding gray, with erratic bits of cold, reluctant sun. Not fair-going  warm by any standards, the morning could have been much worse, a storm advisory with heavy rain and hail pounded a few unlucky spots the day before. Optimism and hope for a bright, dry fall fair day prevailed in spite,  --after all, attending the 101st annual  Hymers Fall Fair in Northwestern Ontario is a worthy afternoon, a family milestone in itself. An opportunity to observe humanity at it's best. Never miss milestone events or fall fairs. Great advice for writing types.  

The horse show takes us for a ride

[caption id="attachment_1997" align="alignleft" width="275"]Hunter-jumpers  photo courtesy of tbt newswatch.com Hunter-jumpers                           photo courtesy of tbt newswatch.com[/caption]   Hunter-jumpers,  impeccably-groomed, preening young women wearing formal riding habits sit mounted, backs arched,  patting  the necks of tall, perfectly-brushed, glistening horses. Guiding and encouraging  their mounts over discrete, timbered pole jumps neatly bracketed with  hay bales, flowers in bloom and tall fluttering cornstalks, potential faults and refusals, the competitors race against the clock.  Riders  frown, smile, concentrate, inwardly twittering,  nervously trying to  avoid the distraction of  waving  folks huddling  in the bleachers behind the whitewashed 3-plank fence. Distractions are aplenty, a kaleidoscope of people, moving, settling, chatting, mesmerized by flying horses and sophisticated pixie-riders alike, some observers voraciously consuming fries with ketchup,  yellow-mustard-slathered corn dogs on wooden sticks or nursing steaming hot coffee in plastic cups. The smell of food.  No matter.                                                                                                                       Thundering, flashing  hoofs, elegant riders; first second and third prizes, red, blue and white ribbons, blushing pride, great ride, no faults, folks, perfect seat. Perception. A keen sense of achievement, rides and ribbons made far more valuable with friends watching,  knowing, nodding approvals,  congratulations, appreciation and the occasional smug smile. What a ride...come back tomorrow, folks, see the heavy horse show....

Minutiae: Construction of an agricultural fair milestone

Children of all ages dally in the special playground with petting zoo, artwork tables, finger paints, challenging wooden stilts, sand and climbing challenges. Proud mothers in bright dresses sport smiling babies in backpack carriers, happy little painted faces display blue birds, big black spiders,  sun-faces and flowers of all colors on rosy cheeks giggling under slouchy  sun hats. Play and laughter, --pealing bells of laughter, perhaps including poignant echos of  long-gone children playing the same games a century ago.  When is the last time you tried walking on wooden stilts? The Hillop stage, music, singing,  the tallest sunflower contest kids get in free with a sunflower, down below,  the big display,  big pumpkins, best blueberry pie; and row upon row of colorful  preserves in sparkling glass Mason jars, bread &butter pickles,  hot peppers and peaches. First, second and third,  red, blue and white ribbons attached to white tags and cotton string tied with bows.  Orange ribbons too,so many fourths,   "outstanding effort" cookies,   bread loaves, offerings of all description, including buns, apple pies with slatted pastries, and look at those  tediously-decorated cakes. Fair-goers of all descriptions  walk narrow display aisles, nodding, proudly pointing out ribbons, whispering, admiring displays of grandchild art, oil paintings by gifted souls and seniors, wood carvings, floral arrangements,  intricate knitted sweaters, socks and afghans, all  behind mesh wire. Apples galore,  five beans on a plate, purple, green or yellow, no more, no fewer,   bunches of carrots, tops beginning to wilt, onions, potatoes, tomatoes and  proudly-tagged zucchini, cabbages and corn, bottles of homemade wine, kiwi, cherry, blueberry and elderberry. We examine participants of endless agricultural displays, routines and competitions set up, practiced, and admired for 101 years. "Not bad, how are'ya?"   Friendly rivalry; wizened old farmers, knotted, gnarled hands carry diamond-willow walking-sticks, in for the dairy cows and calves show,  animals competition, goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens of all descriptions;  a once-a-year meeting-place of smiling, silver-haired grandmothers, musicians play  Mr. Tambourine Man on the main stage, kids, gawky, awkward teens holding hands, visitors and locals alike, at the moment,  neighbours all. [caption id="attachment_1996" align="alignleft" width="225"]Antique engines Antique engines[/caption]   Characters abound at the  Tired Iron club display.   It is  just down the path toward the dininghall it is, (Roast Turkey & Roast Beef dinners complete with pie from 1-5pm ) Antiques, a row of small, even tiny ancient steam-engines, painted brightly, with heavy flywheels turning,  hit & miss engines fire erratically, puffs of blue smoke, chugging,  jiggling, dancing in the grass like bouncy children delighted to be able to play once a year.  Six horsepower was enough in those days to drive a canvas grain-grinder belt, washing machine or a water pump,  but now drive only the memories of ancient men and their genius, the imaginations of fair-goers  and the  fascination with the hobby of proud mechanical tinkering-types wearing engineer coveralls and smoking pipes. Milestones. This was a good one.  101 more reasons to return.   The temperature rose to the occasion, the sun came out, thousands of visitors attend the two-day family fair, bad weather or not, no exceptions,  lineups at the concession stands swelled, hot-dogs, smoky sausages,  hamburgers, elephant ears, exotic Asian food,  fries, ice cream, kettle-corn and coffee. "Thank you, come back next year", vendors selling crafts, ceramics, wooden toys, local artisans proudly display their own and internationally-hand-made jewelry, exotic trivia,  clothing, Canadian maple syrup, all things good. How about genuine hand-made wool socks and aromatic soaps?  A basket of blueberries?   A 'ticket to win it', want to win an ATV, or the $1500 attendance prize, are you feeling lucky? Perception,  milestones & minutiae, one of the oldest little fall  fairs in Ontario, even Old Sol comes out for the occasion and stays simply because it's fun and  it's  the 101st.  Laughter and music echoes across the fairgrounds from times past...... Lady Luck and volunteers have taken care of the details  for the Hymers Fall Fair-once again.....  It's all good. See you at the fair next year!   Is that Incoming I hear? +  
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