Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Grange Fair

Originally uploaded by JugglingScarves.
Went to Grange Fair this weekend. This fair is (I'm told) unique in the country. It's the only one left where people camp on the fairgrounds all week. A tent city pops up the day before the fair starts, and stays up into the Thursday of the following week.

Once you have been assigned a plot at the Grange Fair, it belongs to your family until someone decides to give it back. They get passed down in wills, they become a bone of contention in divorce settlements...this camping-at-the-fair thing is a great big deal. If you're locally born, that is. Outsiders (like me) just don't get the appeal. But I digress.

There's a waiting list a mile long for people who want plots. I don't think these plots can be sold, but they can be loaned out to people for one year at a time. Apparently, if you leave the tent completely unoccupied for one fair, your plot is forfeited and given to someone else. I don't think this happens often.

I spent the whole day there this past Saturday. I went with friends who have one of these tents. I can't imagine staying there for a whole week, unless I had animals to tend. That's where the tradition originated, back when long-distance transportation took a lot longer than it does now. Farmers had to stay on-site, because it wasn't feasible to ride back and forth from home to fairgrounds. It was also quite a social occasion. Again, because of transportation difficulties, it was sometimes the only week out of the year that families and friends living on opposite ends of the county got to see each other. A lot of family reunions are still held during Grange Fair.

It's not just about animals, produce, and handicrafts, either. There's a midway full of games, rides, and food stalls. There are performances in the grandstand and on the midway all week --concerts, tractor pulls, dance exhibitions, you name it.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Bringing the war a little too close to home

My aunt sent out an email on Friday to tell us all that my cousin, currently stationed at an air force base in Germany, is being deployed to Baghdad in November. The airman that was supposed to go got into a fist fight a few days ago. The disciplinary action that followed cost him a stripe on his rank, and now the only person with both the rank and the experience to suit their needs is my cousin.

He's coming back to the U.S. next week for training somewhere in Mississippi. His wife and two children (a three year old daughter and a newborn son) are going to live with my aunt and uncle in Virginia while he's away. It's only supposed to be a six-month deployment, but he was told that it could be extended to eight or nine months.

I was afraid something like this would happen. When he joined the air force, my cousin was trained to work with the missiles. He was stationed in Cheyenne, Wyoming and looked to be there for quite a while. Ironic, isn't it, that the safest place to be right now is tending nuclear weapons? He got restless, though. Because the job is so specialized there isn't much room for advancement. So he got retrained a few years ago and now he's in the post office for the AFB at (I think) Bitburg. My aunt says that's what he'd be doing in Iraq, handling the mail. Somehow I think it's going to be more difficult than that.

In my head, I still see the little boy I used to babysit. It's hard to think of him in a war zone.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Nothing to report, really

I've been surfing around, checking in with all the blogs I read, and I'm seeing there's as little activity elsewhere as there is right here. I think we're all doing the same thing: playing in the sunshine.

Will be back later when I've done something even remotely blogworthy.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Last weekend and this weekend

This is Chewie. I'm not sure I've spelled his name right. He's a chocolate Labrador. He was one of about 20 dogs that came to Mutts Gone Mad last Saturday, which is about twice what we had last year.

I was running the Bobbing for Hot Dogs event for most of the day, and aiming my camera at everywhere else the rest of the time. Chewie was not interested in hot dogs at all. He flung himself into the wading pool and spun around a few times while biting at the water. Then he lay down, threw his head back, and allowed me to take this picture. It was one of the few times he was still all afternoon.

Everyone involved had a lot of fun, and we raised $42 for the local animal welfare agency. Not very much, but more than last year. They were pleased with it, though (every little bit helps), and the beagle rescue group was thrilled to get what they consider a "good" adoption application for one of their animals.

This is going to be a short post. I'm heading to my parents' house for a long weekend in about half an hour, and I'm not done packing yet. It's been a nice week off so far. I did some drawing on Sunday and Monday, thanks to a suggestion made by Anna of Self-Winding. I did a lot of reading, too, most of it indoors because it has been stinkin' hot here all week.

I think I'm going to bring my sketch pad with me to my folks' house. The first drawing I did pleased me quite a bit, but I'm not sure it wasn't a fluke. I seem to be able to do one good one, then a bunch that are very unsatisfying. Is that normal? I only ask because I don't draw much, and it bothers me when an ability seems to come and go of its own free will.

Time to go. Packing to do, taxi to call. Bye y'all!