My family had a great time yesterday during our yearly visit to the Allen County Fair. This trip is our last bit of summer revelry before the school year begins. This year’s fair was replete with the vibrant colors and irresistible smells of food trucks:
I believe that a carnival is no place for calorie counting, so I indulged in two abominations of nutrition, deep-fried dill pickles . . .
. . . and deep fried cookie dough:
Both were extremely tasty, but I preferred the pickles. The doughnut-tender coating on the cookie dough was exquisite, but the filling was too molten hot for me. The tray in which it was served couldn’t be carried about long enough at the fair to let this dessert cool for long.
The domestic competitions in cooking, quilting, and the like are a vital part of the fair. This year’s entries included a whimsical dog quilt:
Along with hundreds of jellies and pickles:
And this intriguing layer cake:
I’m not sure if political booths are a conventional part of county fairs, but they are present every year at our fair:
The difference in those two pictures reflects the reality of politics in Allen County. Republicans definitely have the majority here. Many people here vote a straight Republican ticket with little reflection and no irony, kind of like the guy who wore a Johnny Bench jersey to the fair. When I think of Johnny Bench, the first and only thing that comes to mind is that 70’s commercial he did for Preparation H that featured him sliding into home base with his rear dragging the ground.
Back to the topic of our evening at the fair . . . five hours slipped away before I stopped long enough to wonder what time it was. By eleven o’clock, the lines for carnival rides had grown thin, and the food trucks were shutting down for the night. As we walked back to our car in the dark, I suggested that we visit another county fair or two before fair season ends in late September. I hope we will discover that a fair is just as delightful when it’s wedged into the school year.
Today is a vacation day for me, so I was able to squeeze in a quick morning photo walk around the wetlands that border my backyard. The wetlands are now lush with birds, wildflowers, and tall grasses. This is one of those places I cherish most, a touch of the wild so close to home. As walked around the path within it, I thought of a portion of Oberon’s speech from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2.1.235-239):
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk roses and with eglantine.
There were wild roses in bloom today, but they resisted capture through my lens. They were tucked into the deeper parts of the wetlands. Black-eyed susans are now in bloom, a sure sign that summer is conquering this area.
Whenever I’ve had an appointment with my back surgeon, I drive down Pine Street to reach his office. There’s a lot of economic disparity in my city, but the decline of Rust Belt factories has shifted most of the city’s prospects downward. Over the past 40 years, there has been a slow exodus of the middle class into the suburbs, and the college-educated children of these families tend to move to bigger cities, where there is a better market for their skills.
Now the city itself has such widespread poverty that the entire city school system qualifies for free breakfast and lunch.
When I came home from my appointment, I mentioned to my husband that I wished I could have taken pictures while I was driving to my appointment today. There were lovely ivory silk lilacs lining swathes of the curb lawns on Pine Street, in stark contrast to the crumbling, hundred-year old homes on the street.
So my husband suggested we take a ride so I could get those pictures. It’s so tricky to get good shots from a car. I figure there’s a learning curve that ends in weighing the purchase of a tilt shift lens.
I tried my best with these photos. I’d like to take more photo trips such as this one. There’s an ocean of such sights in this community, and their fragile decay has its own beauty.
I don’t remember why deep purple is the color of penance. It’s not that I feel the need to confess anything. This flower reminds of the vestment the priest from Boston would wear at our Catholic school penance services. That is all.
I couldn’t have designed better light for this morning’s photo walk. I again visited the Allen County Children’s Garden next to the Lima Public Library. I was early enough that I spotted a dozen or so profoundly eager library patrons who were waiting for the library doors to open on a Saturday morning. I don’t recall being so dedicated to the pursuit of any text that I’d have given up sleeping in on the weekend to get a book from the library. Perhaps that is my loss, or maybe it is a side-effect of having grown up in a home stuffed with its fair share of books. I still have more books than I can comfortably store.
Unlike the words on a printed book, the morning light would not be preserved without my intervention. I returned this weekend to check if the peonies had begun their bloom, but their buds are still growing heavy for their upcoming debut. Peonies must be more inflexible than lilacs in timing their show; lilacs began blooming three weeks early this year.
I did find that the irises are in bloom. What more could I expect today?
My husband bought me a lilac bush last week, but several inches of rain prevented its planting until today. I’ve wanted a lilac bush since they first enchanted me as a child. My recent reflection on the lack of a Hellebores plant in my garden made me consider that there are several plants I love but have not made the effort to bring home. Aside from planting a pink hibiscus and a pair of dianthus, I’d added nothing but annuals to our yard. The addition of the lilac, a James MacArthur pink of my choosing, is another step toward creating a garden I can relish.