Watching a DeLorean go whizzing past:
Me: (humming the theme song) "Go Speed Racer, Go"
From the passenger seat, in Japanese accent - "make no extra movement, requires more frames, animation expensive!"
Looking for a place to make a rest stop:
Me: "There will be a gas station or a business along here soon. Hey, there's a clothing store for women and plus sizes called Dress Barn"
From the passenger seat: "I think it would be best to avoid the word BARN in any association with plus size women's clothing."
Less than two hours from home, we're here! Parking in the Jay County Fairground is free, and they have school buses to take you to the entrance. There will be a lot of walking today, this would be a fun alternative. . .
John Deere Go Cart by the front entrance.
It is going to be a scorcher. Mr. B. has all kinds of extra water and I brought lots of sunscreen (not being able to find those little tiles they use on the space shuttle which would probably work better for redheads).
I had the kind with zinc oxide for my sensitive skin. I apply it liberally, and then look at my friends and ask "too much?"
I hear back "Next, on kabuki theater!"
Oh well, at least with this and a hat, I shouldn't burn. We start in the small engine section.
Moving onto lawn and garden tractors. From the Hercules Gas Engine Co., Evansville, Ind. circa 1915
A beautiful little Bolens, maker of the first engine powered garden tractor
Just some of the scale projects that were on display.
Lots of interesting things everywhere.
Then there were tractors, all KINDS of tractors.
There were even engine powered washing machines. One (not this one) was branded "Easy" (yeah, right).
Most, equipped with an attached wringer, look like they could take off an arm easily. But one thing we notice, there are not warning signs everywhere. This place is loaded with things with teeth and moving parts and gears and all KINDS of scalding and burning potential. I went into a bathroom in Northern Ireland once and they even had a "caution hot water" on the hot water faucet on the sink in the bathroom! It's not much better in the US, with warning notes telling you to remove the baby before folding up the stroller.
Here was machinery in all it's mangling glory and everyone pretty much knows what is safe to touch or not, having the kind of intelligence that I wish to associate with - "intelligence" meaning, the ability to sensibly cope with whatever environment you are thrust in, while retaining a measure of your own personal liberty and thought. Roll out the hot steam engines and let Darwin take over, I say.
Though there is this little sign next to a very old "powered" saw.
What does is say on that paper?
But of course, there's always one in the crowd. . .
From the announcer's loudspeaker. "Folks I've seen 10,000 people here and I thought I'd seen everything but DO NOT drive your golf cart through the barn. Do NOT drive motorized vehicles through the barns.
(Where signs aren't necessary, public humiliation WILL work.)
The show has all kinds of food for snacks and supper, but I packed tailgate food for a mid- morning light meal as our day started early and breakfast was a granola bar in the truck. There's spicy grilled chicken and tortillas to make wraps, all kinds of chopped veggies and two kinds of dressing, a spicy one, and a creamy one I made with cheese, peppercorn and caramelized onion. There are grapes I bought fresh yesterday and cheeses and yummy cayenne almonds and cinnamon almonds (which Midwest Chick put in Mr. B's backpack before he left, yay!).
After that, still more acres and acres of tractors and engines we haven't seen yet. There's also flea markets with antiques and crafts, hand crafted toys for the kids, and things to interest a whole famil around the perimeter of the show. Me - I just wanted to play with the engines.
I see a lot of folks in farm wear, as well as a large number of Amish and Mennonites, the ladies wearing beautifully crafted homemade dresses, the children all happy and well behaved. The men in attendance look to be in their element, one and all, so many things to look at, to learn from and admire. These machines, if able to be hung on a wall, could be the epitaph of most of the men here.
There are families and babies, and an occasional chair on which was marked "in memory of" the name of someone who had occupied that chair at many a farm gathering. Families are important, and we always miss those that by circumstance or death, remain far from us.
One thing we notice though, there was NO litter. No where. I've noticed this, as well, at fairs in areas where the predominant industry is farming and small businesses. But go to a fair in Lake County (blue state) and there's garbage on the ground everywhere. It speaks to the type of people that attend this type of event, farmers, conservatives; workers; whether poor, middle class or wealthy, all are cut from the same cloth. Everyone here has a deep appreciation for taking care of things, a first hand experience of earning their own keep, of hard work and innovation. Some succeed ,and are properous, some, through fate, a bad choice or two, or nature, may not. But all understand what went into their effort. It's far removed from the "entitled" mindset that is taking over our country, don't work, someone will feed you, make a mess, someone else will clean it up. It's definitely a refreshing change from what is seen in many public gatherings elsewhere..
In the afternoon there is big cups of iced tea and Sno Cones for all (one grape, one root beer and one blue raspberry please!) As the temps are getting up into the 90's we are happy to give some of our money to the service groups that are providing food and refreshments here (including some amazing breaded tenderloins and other meats you could purchase by the case to take home).
But there is respite from the sun for a bit in the covered grandstand for a parade of antique fire engines and all kinds of tractors. We sit in anticipation while they line up to drive by the stands where their ownership and history would be announced.
We can't t tell what will come into view first, the machines stirring up a cloud of dust that is both portent and promise. But oh we can hear them, moving noisily and steadily, but not quickly, onto the track, the future, our past, the mechanised, mobilized unavoidable destiny that was, that is America.
As the machines move into view, several kids are perched up on Dad or Grandpa's lap "helping" to steer, another generation. I hope that they will come to appreciate this little piece of our history. We did chuckle at one young man, late teens I'd say, who has his beautiful young gal friend perched up on the edge of the tractor, balancing herself in a pair of Daisy Duke shorts and a little shirt, flashing the hair and smile at the crowd like a beauty queen.
"Hope the Tractor Muffin doesn't fall off" was all I can say, but the men appreciate the ornamental features of that particular tractor.
I remember this next one from last year. Beautiful.
There are firetrucks as well. I knew my good friend PA State Cop would appreciate this.
After that, there is still more acres and acres of tractors and engines and some working threshers to explore.
After the day ends and before everyone heads out to start their work week, there are old fashioned board games to be played (this board, a $2 find at the thrift shop along with some model railroad magazines that were in immaculate condition).
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Teach a man to play cribbage and a week later he is taking the board and running with it.
For those of you that play, you understand the significance of the skunk, which made his appearance after my first game of the evening. ( something from my cribbage playing family out West).
But losing or winning, some of the best fun in the world is the old fashioned kind.
If you live anywhere near farm country and you've not taken in such an event as the Tri-State Engine and Tractor Show and have any kind of interest in engineering, history, antiques or machinery, you should go. Go, listen to the throated growl of a tractor, the labored chuffing that is a working steam engine, the whistle that is both challenge and release, before they're gone, taking with them the last echo of a young nation's fire and promise.