Thursday, August 20, 2009

Livestock and God in Northern Washington

Today the kids and I spent a fantastic day in Lyndon, Washington at
the County Fair. We made the trip in the company, and at the brilliant
recommendation, of some wonderful new friends here in Point Roberts.

Everything about the Fair harkened back to a different time and place.
Maybe it was my last few nights watching the PBS documentary, "The
Farmer's Wife", but there was such a simple and earnest charm about
the event. It is so human to make things, whether it is a handsewn
quilt, a peach pie, a massive zucchini or a perfect Pygmy goat.
Equally human is the desire to show said specimens off to the world at
large. To have ribbons affixed to our productions denoting the
acheivement for all to see and remark upon. This carrot is perfection
amongst root in class. That carrot is too
ridgey...third place. One can only guess at what long standing rural
interpersonal politics play into the awards. You know, ever since
Denise gave Rhoda third place in the cookie division, Denise's husband
can't get a prize winning hog because Rhoda's brother is a judge. It
doesn't help that Denise's son stood up Rhonda's neice at that dance...

One thing I couldn't help but notice was the religious element that
was very obvious at the Fair. It is clearly a good, God-fearing
community. Booths like "Teens for Christ Cheesecake on a Stick" (no, I
am not kidding...), make a statement. So does the fact that the Teens
were doing brisk business. I'm not sure if the cheesecake was
particularly tasty, or if the Son of God is just great marketing in

Another feature of the Fair was a great kids area with free games to
play, complete with prizes. The girls were instant fans. They were
beanbag throwing and wooden car racing like crazy, scooping up rubber
balls and plastic telescopes.

The only catch was you had to fill out a form to get a games card. No
biggie. Oh, and the whole thing is sponsored by the North County
Christ is King church. Um, okay. Good for those guys. We'll happily
accept their erasers in the shape of ice cream cones. But wait. What
does that little bracelet on Molly's wrist say? I Love Jesus...? (As
an aside, Molly read the bracelet and said, "I don't know if I love
Jesus, but I sure like him a lot".)

The kicker was the tattoo table. There are always those tattoos at
fairs and the kids debate between fairies and flowers. Not here. We
ended up with one Jesus fish and two Praise the Lords. Finny asked me
what hers said while still having it put on by a very earnest teen
volunteer. It was an awkward conversation: "Praise the what? What does
that mean? Mumma, why is that on a TATTOO?". Picture my embarrassed
whispers and her near shouted questions. Are you cringing? I was. Of
course, they totally dig the tattoos. And I do expect some literature
in the mail from Christ the King. I don't mind. They gave us a good

The Lyndon Fair is a new family tradition, I think. Next year I might
even try the cheesecake on a stick.

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