Wednesday, July 30, 2003

County Fair part two

The Clay County Fair was goin' full tilt. Sunday was always a good day at the fair. Folks still came to the fair after church dressed in their "Sunday go to meetin'" clothes. Little ol' girls had on their dresses, white socks an' either black patent shoes or saddle oxfords. Boys had their cowlicks pressed down with a little luck an' a lot o' spit. Their shirts were pressed white and their shoes shined. Mamas and Dads herded youngin's almost as good as the 4Hers in the barns did their animals.

Uncle Billy sat outside the exhibition hall takin' it all in. He had made brooms an' a few milk stools all weekend till Sunday. He never worked on Sunday. Never did, never would. He didn't sell any of his brooms on Sunday either, though he didn't fault others if they wanted to work or buy an' sell. It was just his personal beliefs was all.

They had a church service on the fairgrounds for all the folks what were missin' church by bein' there an' tendin' their animals or booths. Uncle Billy always led the singin' with his deep bass voice.

A couple years back a collection was taken up to buy some o' them Broadman Hymnals. Each an' ever' one was stamped "Fairgrounds Church Meeting" on the front in gold letters. Inside each one was the name of the folks what donated it.

The preachers around the community took turns doin' the service an' this year it was Brother Harley Davidson's turn. The preacher would always appoint someone to fill his pulpit while he preached at the fairgrounds. Brother Harley was from the Church of God. He asked Jesse Gilbert to fill in for him. Jesse was home from college an' was goin' to make a preacher when he got out.

Uncle Billy watched the parade of folks as they walked 'round the grounds, hands full of this an that, stuffed animals, painted canes, waffles an' cotton candy. More than once a feller would stop an' pass the time o' day with Uncle Billy. They talked about all the important things o' the day...the weather, cattle prices, which youngin' was gonna take the grand champion steer this year. Now that was a hot topic.

When it got dark folks would start comin' round an' settlin' in around Uncle Billy an' Homer Wilson. Both them fellers was storytellers an' ever'one wanted to get as close as they could to hear all them fellers had to tell.

They did a round robin, tellin' a story then sittin' down whilst lookin' at the other, almost darin' 'em to beat that one. Folks was as quiet as the dead, jus' wantin' to hear what they said. It usually went on for two or three hours, goin' from short funny jokes an' such to longer stories an' maybe a scary one or two.

Homer Wilson said, "Now, that is the way I heerd it, an' I reckon fur as I knowed it was true enough." He sat down an' looked to Uncle Billy who stood an' looked over the crowd...

"Now, let me see here. That reminds me o' the time...."

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