We Chase Countians hit a stroke of luck this week when a cool front moved in and encompassed our county fair. Temperature highs were in the upper 80s and the humidity was low. Perfect fair weather. Heck, we even got a tantalizing one-half inch of rain one day.
Unfortunately, my personal fortunes at the fair took a dip this year. The drought hampered my county fair gardening entries considerably. But, I wuzn’t skunked.
One entry of unusual flat peppers garnered a blue ribbon in the open horticultural exhibits. My red potatoes got a red ribbon, but that wuz by default because it had no competition. Another plate of jalapeño peppers earned a third place white ribbon. All my tomato entries were losers.
Things looked up a bit for me at the poultry barn. My pen of three dual-purpose hens earned the judge’s nod for a blue ribbon. Alas, my entry in the ugliest chicken contest — the winning prize of which I sponsor each year — failed to garner enuf votes from the non-discerning public for me to win my money back. This has become an habitual failure for a number of years.
Once again, the Chase County premium 4-H livestock sale turned out remarkably well for the 4-H youngsters and reflected well on the generosity of the county’s citizens and businesses, near and far away.
Plus, at the end of the sale, a goat wuz sold repeatedly and raised around $10,000 for a charitable contribution to a local family with an infant son with medical needs.
I always take my UTV and trailer to the fair set-up and clean-up days for making it handy to dispense the trash barrels around the fairgrounds and then empty them at the end of the fair and store them for next year’s fair.
Well, my good intentions got sidetracked for the set-up day. The evening before, I hooked the trailer to my pickup truck and loaded the UTV so I could get an unencumbered early start the next morning.
However, Murphy’s Law asserted itself immediately at 10 minutes to 6 the next morning. First, the trailer had a flat tire. “No problem,” I said. “It’s a slow leak.” So, I rolled out the air compressor and plugged it in. It promptly blew an electrical breaker and I figgered correctly that a mud dauber wasp has deposited a mud nest in the compressor motor.
Still no big problem, I reckoned, because I have a spare tire mounted on the trailer. So, I had to run down a big crescent wrench to get the spare off the trailer. That’s when I found out I couldn’t get the jack under the trailer axle. So, I spent time chocking up the trailer and digging under the axle.
End of story. I sweated in the cool dawn. I cussed on general principles. And I got to the fair an hour late, but still on time to do my job. Thankfully, the clean-up this morning went off without any incidents except the distasteful job of emptying human garbage.
County fairs are great for creating stories and this one wuz no exception. Nearly every Wednesday at the Saffordville Gentle Mens’ Breakfast, one regular, ol’ Hap E. Goluckie, brings some sort of fresh coffee cake — which he always claims he got up early and baked himself that very morning. Everyone knows it’s a ruse.
So, this week, we cooked up a prank on Hap. We saved back a slice of his cake on the sly. Then I took it to the fair and convinced the fair office to print up an entry card in his name for a “Fancy Cake” entry — and to also give me a purple “Champion” ribbon.
I placed ol’ Hap’s entry right by the front door of the display building and urged some of his buddies who weren’t at breakfast to take a picture of Hap’s cake, entry card and ribbon and send it to him with their congratulations. That went off without a hitch.
I brought his “stale entry” home with me and will present it to Hap at next week’s breakfast.
County fair are also great for hearing about humorous stories from past fairs. Here’s one that happened decades ago. The fair livestock sale wuz over and a crew of volunteers was loading the animals in trailers for transport to the base bidder. Among the volunteers to help load the hog trailer wuz a “take charge” 4-H mother.
As the story wuz told to me, the lady wuz in the trailer and motioned for the next bunch of hogs to be loaded. Onto the trailer the draft of hogs came and the lady confidently said, “I’ll take ‘em on in from here.”
The words had scarcely left her lips when the hogs in the front of the trailer turned around and in a grunting, squealing wave simple engulfed the poor lady — upending her in a most unladylike manner.
The storyteller, who wuz outside the trailer looking in, related that all he could see wuz a pair of lady legs, each with a gum boot on it, flailing in the air as the lady tried to extract herself from the tsunami of hogs atop her.
Having been upended by rambunctious hogs myself, I have a mental home video of what happened in my mind — and it’s pretty funny.
The egg-sucking black snake I told about last week, returned for a fresh meal this week, but I wuz ready for it. The thief has sucked his last egg.
Until next week, remember these words of wisdom: “Whoever said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend never owned a dog.” Have a good ‘un.