Last updated: May 23. 2014 8:55AM - 494 Views
Evelyn Richardson Here and There

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We are looking forward to the county fair and the variety of good experiences that it will offer. It won’t be like the fairs of a century ago because now is a different time. Entertainment has come into our homes via television, and while it may not be as good as that showcased at fairs, we are not drawn to events like the side shows and mule-pulling contests as people were “back then.”

It won’t be like the fairs of the mid 1900s, because now is a different time. I remember the year that we married: We were living in Simpson County and my mother-in-law came home from the fair reporting on the demonstrations that she attended. A fine lady who was a neighbor of ours was a contestant in the ironing demonstrations. My mother-in-law was enthusiastically telling about “the beautiful ironing” that Mrs. Owen did. I dare say, there will not be ironing contests at the 2014 fair. Now is a different time.

The floral hall will not reflect all of the same entries that were accepted in the 1960s. There won’t be a category in the clothing division for handmade buttonholes, or patching. I doubt that tatting will be listed among the needlework. Homemade hats will have been eliminated from the specialty department. Who would bother to make a hat when hats are a rarity, even for dress-up occasions?

We won’t see rows and rows of canned fruits and vegetables displayed in Mason jars with screw zinc tops. Fewer people are raising their own food. They are working away from home to earn money to enable them to buy it in metal cans or fresh from the energetic farmers who still till the soil.

On shelves at the fair, home canning that has survived the competition of freezing and buying ready-prepared foods will probably not include pints of early June peas or quarts of wild blackberries ready to pour into a cobbler. Neither will there be jars packed with fried homemade sausage or tenderloin and covered with its own grease before the jars were sealed. I can taste these delicious flavors now.

I’ll bet that we won’t see “Unfilled baked pastry shell” on the schedule. Since all cakes and pies in the baking division are expected to be made from scratch, crust and all, there won’t be many entries. Now is a different time.

In the hobby department, there won’t be a place to enter color slides. The little black and white 2”x2” snapshots from my Brownie camera wouldn’t stand a chance to win a blue ribbon today.

We like to reflect on how life used to be, but we prefer not to go back there and do the work required to repeat it. Now is a different time.

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