There was the State Fair this weekend. I was truly surprised by the range of emotions that I experienced while I was there.
This was primarily a deliberate outing with my mother-in-law. Last year's mini-vacation when she came out to us was a little disaster. Nothing bad happened, but I don't think she enjoyed herself much. Now, to be honest, the lack of enjoyment could have been more about her recently losing her husband than anything else, but the vacation fell flat, so this year I was determined to make sure she had a no-holds-barred good time.
Phyllis is a State Fair enthusiast.
The weather was perfect, about 75. If you're going to go trooping about with an 86-year-old lady, that's what you want. As expected, we didn't see much. There were frequent breaks. Phyllis didn't eat much (as Bryon said, "Mom's decided to live on dew and universe juice."), but she did enjoy the tiny portions of things she had.
We did the fabric and thread room right. One thing that all of us are enthusiastic about is sewing, so we looked at quilts and talked about how modern quilts were more precise than the old style due to the computerization of many of the tools at a crafter's disposal now. We looked at needle point, designed outfits, clothes made from patterns, knitted sweaters, crocheted shawls, stuffed animals. We compared art quilts and traditional quilts and quilts that were both.
Man, I miss sewing. I miss costumes. I miss creating with fabric. I was seized with such a longing for it yesterday.
I am a writer. I am a writer. I am a writer. I am a writer. I am...
So, that was good. And beautiful.
After lunch, we visited Pioneer Hall and listened to the Mandolin contest. It was the one that happened to be on while we were there. Apparently, it's okay for Irish music to be played, as well as the usual American types. There were two brothers who played guitar and mandolin, and then switched instruments. They appeared to play with no effort in that way that talented musicians do--watching everything else but their instrument, looking like the music is just running out of them.
Luckily for me, Phyllis wanted to leave the fair before the fiddle contest. My grandfather was State of Iowa fiddle champ 5 times. I would have sat there and bawled like a baby. In a good way, of course. As bad as my family was, this was my grandfather at some of his finest moments. But I didn't want to cause distress to any other toe tappers.
So, I learned that a fiddle can still evoke my grandfather even though he's been gone for almost 25 years. And that I really, deep down in my heart love my other art as much as writing. I have no idea how people manage two muses. Wait! Maybe they don't have day jobs?
We didn't see the butter cow. The line was too darned long. We missed the butter Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs too. It is, by the way, the 100th anniversary of the Butter Cow sculpture this year. Oh, and the Butter Cow is also running for President, in case you don't see anyone you like on the ticket.