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Summer is upon us and soon county fairs will be sprouting up across the countryside. Every year my hometown county fair was billed to be “bigger and better”. Surprisingly, it usually was just that.  The Jaycees, the sponsor of the fair most of my childhood years, were always adding a new contest or event to keep folks interested.

If you couldn’t find something to enjoy at the fair, you were trying NOT to enjoy it. Baby shows, croquet tournaments, tractor pulls, mule pulls, demolition derby, horse and harness racing, beauty pageants and “best of” contests in the exhibit hall. My cousin won the blue ribbon for white cakes so many years, I’m surprised anyone continued to enter.

The culmination was the big walking horse show on Saturday nights. The center ring was always covered in lush green grass. The grandstands and fencing sparkled white then turned to a warm amber as the sun sat. The organist played peppy tunes on her Hammond as the ringmaster’s monotone voice called out the judges next request. “Reverse your horse and cantor, please. Reverse and cantor”.

Now, just on the other side of the grandstands things weren’t so genteel. That’s were the carnival was in full glitz, glitter give me all your money mode. As you walked through the crowd you would met someone you knew every other step, but you (or maybe it was just me) would also see some of the strangest people in the world. Dirty, smelly, up in your face people trying to get you to toss rings at Coke bottles, shoot basketballs at tiny rimmed goals or pick up innocent little ducks all to see what grand, or not so grand, prize you could take home.

And at the far end of the carnival, well, that’s were the real sin was happening. The girlie shows drew a rather large crowd of men, and usually their wives trying to drag them away. To promote the next show, the girls would come out onto the stage and dance around while some sultry voice would expound their virtues in rhyme. “They shake to the East, they shake it to the West……”. You get the idea.

The bigger and better Russell County Fair always concluded the first Saturday in August, just a couple of weeks before the start of the school year.  It was such a well loved event that people who had long since moved away would make their way home to  see family and friends. It was Russell County’s Norman Rockwell moment. To this day the smell of cotton candy being spun takes me right back there.

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Growing up in the country had many benefits. One of which meant locking the door was an option and one that was hardly practiced. When you have to really search for the only door key before you lock up the house, you know you are in the country.

Anyway, the doors to our house stood open most of the time.  One reason, there was no air conditioning in the house until I was an adult. But, the main reason was just to let “life” in.  To me, a closed up house doesn’t breath.  I keep my windows open as long as possible and avoid running the AC as long as I can.

When I was looking at this house before buying, the first thing I wanted to do was to put a storm door on the back so Kate, the cat and I could enjoy the back yard. Almost two years later it was finally installed Thursday. I won’t go into all the reasons it took so long, but if you know me, you know I just move slowly sometimes!

To say the least I think Kate is thrilled. I know I am. It has glass top to bottom and can be vented from either the top or bottom. That means Kate got to lay on the rug, last night, and watch as a rabbit had lawn salad for supper. And I sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee this morning with a little breeze coming in.

Hard to believe something as simple as a door can change the way a house feels, but this door makes us feel like our home now has life coming in.

Everyone is complaining about the rain and I have certainly contributed my fair share of the moaning. On the other hand, I LOVE the lush green that now covers those tree bones that were ghostly just a few short weeks ago. And the flowers! Spring was my mother’s favorite time of year and while fall still holds the lead in my book, Spring is closing fast.

Every day I find myself doing exactly what my mother would do, walking the the rows of treasured foliage, just as a commander inspects his troops. Searching for any tiny new bud, so I can then track the progress. On my current roster I have iris’, tiger lilies, hibiscus, spider wort, fire pink, lamb’s ear, columbine and peony.

Last weekend was Derby weekend and my sisters, a cousin and I all met “back home”.  One thing that ALWAYS happens when we meet there is a trip to visit the Mennonite community nearby. The back end of my car was loaded down with new plants! In addition to all the items I purchased, my sister Ann, brought painter’s brush (bee balm) and day lilies. Which I, in turn, traded tiger lilies.

So, this Mother’s Day weekend I will be doing what my mother would have loved, planting flowers and thanking God for the rain.

Whew!

Can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I posted. This month has been a whirlwind of activity. I’ve had out of town company, some for a short evening visit and others for “overnight”. It’s great, but I have begun to realize (read: my body is screaming) that sitting on ones behind all winter maybe isn’t the best thing to do.

After much Spring cleaning, I wasn’t too fearful for my sister and her husband to stay over for a few nights. Of course, I’m not totally sure they weren’t fearful!

Anyway, in addition to the company, I’ve been shooting more for work and freelance. ALWAYS, a good thing! US Men’s National Soccer Team, an event honoring a past Tennessee legislator and a wedding.

The wedding was in Dallas, so that was a four day affair. It was great to be with old friends and meet some great folks, too. The wedding was beautiful and I shot over 1000 images. And still didn’t get to everything I wanted to cover.

By the time I got off the plane on Sunday I was just beat. Thanks to Pam, for dropping me off and picking me up at the airport AND checking on Kate while I was gone.

For all the aches, pains and craziness it has been a very good month. Just what I needed to get myself up and moving.

This weekend I’m shooting Pam’s art show in Watertown and tackling the weeds in my backyard.

Whew, here I go again.

IMAX 3D fun

Last night I got to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and it was totally unplanned. A friend caught me on FB and asked if I had plans for the evening and as usual the answer was no. He said he wanted to see the new Dreamworks film “Monsters v. Aliens” and was I interested. And by the way, he wanted to see it at the IMAX theatre.  Cool, I’ve never been to an IMAX movie. Yes, I know they have been around for years.

As much as I love new techie stuff, somethings just seem to slip by.  Anyway, I agreed to meet him and off we went. On top of it being at the IMAX it was in 3D. Yep, had to wear the funny little glasses.

I have to admit, it was amazing having parts of the film come right up to your face! A couple of the fast motion scenes made my stomach feel like I was on a roller coaster. And there were a couple of kaboooooms that seemed to shake the entire theatre.

It was just the coolest thing. I will definitely be going back. The movie was only an hour and a half and was a typical good cartoon v. bad cartoon. Still, it was a blast. If you plan to go, be prepared for the additional $$$.

I’m going to be brief tonight, cause it has been one of “those” days. This day has just sucked the life right out of me. It just seemed that I could not do a thing right no matter how hard I tried. And whatever I did to correct things, just ended up making them worse. So, the last thing I am going to try in an attempt to make this day better, is to go to bed. ‘night y’all.

Blogging

Honestly, the thought of blogging scares me. I am afraid one of two things could happen, I could not be able to come up with anything to write about or, worse I could ramble on about nothing. Sort of like now. But I am going to give it a try. Bear with me, have patience and pity. Most of all write back and let me know what you think.