Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Great Darke County Fair By Abraham Lincoln

I was rooting through some of the thousands of digital photos I have and came across a batch without titles. I began looking at them and realized they were taken on August 18, 2007 at the Great Darke County Fair, in Greenville, Ohio.

It just occurred to me that the 2011 Darke County Fair will begin next week on the 19th of August. I wish I could be there but getting around is not as easy as it was in 2007. I could tell you about US Army C-Rations and the free package of cigarettes I got each day but I ended up with COPD – with asthma and emphysema. I was never able to quit smoking and thought switching to a pipe would me smoking less of a problem in old age. So I made the switch and can be seen on some of my book jackets holding a corncob pipe.

I chose the Merry-Go-Round photo because it was the only ride I was able to go on during World War Two. It was cheap – I think a nickel or possibly a dime and I practically begged mom to get me a ticket to take a ride on the Merry-Go-Round. At the end of our day at the fair, mom gave me the money from her change purse and I ran over to get the ticket. And the man allowed me to choose my horse and I got on with some assistance from him. Mom could ride on the bench that went around but she chose to sit outside and watch me ride.

At the time I was not interested in the livestock exhibit but mom wanted to look at the chickens and rabbits. She wanted to see if there was anything new. We always had chickens and sometimes rabbits but nothing that we ever had compared to the animals purported to be the best chickens and rabbits in the county. They even won blue, red and white ribbons.

We never had goats but mom would sometimes buy a front quarter from Earl Idel who raised goats in Gordon. And we would eat goat meat fixed ever which way. The goats and sheep at the fair were always larger or fancier than anything I got to see in Gordon. I did enjoy watching them shear sheep at the fair.

I also remember sitting in the grandstand one year just watching the horses pulling sulkies around the track and saw a strange vehicle pulled in the center infield.

People began to gather all around the shiny black car. It was certainly different from the nineteen thirties models most people drove in those days. It looked modern – futuristic even, and I had to go see what it was.

When I got there they had the motor running and the man inside was turning the steering wheel. He could turn it effortlessly – unbelievable – I had to use both hands to turn the steering wheel on a Model T or on a Model A. Then I noticed this car had three headlights and the headlight in the middle actually turned when the man turned the steering wheel. The nameplate said, “Tucker,” and boy did I see the future right there at the Great Darke County Fair.

In those days, the Darke County Fair and all other fairs, I suppose, were allowed to show people with all kinds of deformities. And the sideshows featured mentally ill people, or they acted like it, to folks with six fingers and six toes.

I saw the fattest woman in the world wearing some kind of gown so you could not see more than her ankles. I got to see a man and woman who were odd-looking but the banner called them, “Living Freaks.” The ape-man was covered with hair, even on his face. The fish-man was covered with scales but I wondered about him. Mom said she thought he was a fake.

I don’t know what will be the moneymaker at the fair this year but I feel for those who work so hard for such small rewards. I suppose the Coliseum will have sewing machines for sale, water heaters and the latest refrigerators – they always do.

There were those women sitting behind tables with things to give away but they are never gave stuff to little kids.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Featured Posts

/* Track outbound links in Google Analytics */