This morning I got the chance to walk around the County Fair with my daughter’s pre-school class, which was a hoot. I absolutely love the Fair. Especially the livestock barns. Yes, I enjoy a stroll through the quilt show, a walk past all the booths where we get free popcorn, lollipops, and “future nurse” hats for the kids. I even love to walk past the booths where we don’t get foot-long corn-dogs. But the thing that brings me back year after year is the livestock barns.
This is my yearly appointment with what is really going on in the world. It makes no difference to me that I have seen it before, I am always shocked. I love to walk past the small town cheerleader girls chatting through their gum about their steer. I love to see a bunch of nervous kids with canes sweating it out trying to keep their pigs moving in a circle so the judges can get a good view of the meat in motion (and comment later about the shape of their hams). I love to see the piglets fighting to nurse (there are seven this year), and the hilarious shock on my kids’ faces about this same activity. I love to see a cute lady, pinning a pig on the ground underneath her while she chats with someone, all the while cleaning out its ears with a toothbrush (yes, a toothbrush!). I love the startling reality of it all – God made these!
When I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with Lina, I spent a long time at the pen of a very pregnant sheep. Hanging from her seriously swayed back was an enormous belly, twitching. I stood there with my aching hips and sympathized. I went away so much more thankful. However tired I might be, I was not in a pen with visitors streaming by all day, and my child did not have hoofs. Also, and this is very important, there was no decorated poster-board above my head inviting people to guess when I was going to produce offspring. There is always something at the Fair to make you a more spiritual person. So let me encourage you to find a fair and attend. Eat an elephant ear, and if you are lucky you might see some pretty epic square dancing costumes. And don’t forget that it is all real.