blue ribbon time


Lucy was eccstatic her height was ticket to ride, and woke each of the Fair’s four days giddy. We picked blackberries on the walk up, up to the fairgrounds. We licked local ice cream and met new baby piggies. We laughed with friends and shared in games with grandparents.

I wrote the following poem two years ago, and entered it in our fabulous fair that awards blue ribbons in written word. Now after another edit it fits another daughter like a glove:

a young girl’s journey into the fair

already three

and tonight’s her first

tilt of her head


all smiles and dizzy giggles


sticky carmel corn

l i c k

all sea salt and San Juan sand

islands’ best down dirt rows

crooked neck squash with ribbon blue,

giant lemon of earth

sheep sheered while loom waits,

milkiest-bright glides

textiles like tides

pink ribbons, braids

ferris wheel eyes


mainland, mast lights

at eventide


The colors and images of the fair get me. The clouds, especially the clouds, were phenomenal each day.

I always try to imprint each summer scene in my mind until next summer, next fair.


Sometimes the most simple rides offer the most extravagant ride with an old friend.


And sometimes it is hard to choose which ride needs you most.

And other times it is just hard to chose whose request to honor first.


But when you’re up in the air none of that matters. Apparently, all that matters is that you have a toy machine gun and full views of both Jackson’s Beach and The Fair.


After bringing three babies into this world I get motion sick just thinking about rides. Olive wanted to nurse at each ride the girls chose, so there we were. Laughing and nursing amongst all those screams of joy.


The clouds above the magical swings were simply that – magical. I said to Betty,

I want to ride the swings more than anything so I can be closer to those clouds. But, I am scared and concerned I might get sick. After all that morning sickness, who needs self-inflicted afternoon sickness?!

Betty said,

Well, Mama, maybe you want to wait until you’re forty-five to ride the swings. I think I’ll wait until I’m six.


Lucy called the twisty teacups Twirly Muffins.


Trashion Fashion Show

Luckily, I welcomed a daughter on the best holiday of the year and just when it didn’t seem possible, Halloween is now a whole lot cooler. Anyone who knows me knows if there’s any excuse for a costume I’m all over it.

I love our islanders, and the Trashion Fashion Show is testament to why. Each ‘wearable’ fashion had to be from something old made anew or re-purposed. A lady adorned in pet food containers and one of sugar bags, a gal pal in a dress made out of chewed gum and candy wrappers, an old moon calendar gown, a suit of broken christmas lights, a ferry (schedule) princess – and, crowd favorite, Ferrel Faucet and his frock of garden hose. A retired sports announcer emcees this event and, in my opinion, is the icing on the cake for this fashion party.

Infamous Trashions


My friend Adrienne had the creative vision to turn our oldest girls into Marie Antoinettes with old bedding and pillows. It was hardly a collaborative sewing event – I embellished the outfits while Adrienne did the other 99 percent.

Apparently, there’s no evidence Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake!” But, she did say, “Off to her bed.” She was forced to give up her clothes at the end of her reign except for her tattered dress and was infinately known for her fearless candy-colored clothing choices.


We won an honorable mention and the prize was some forgotten stuffed monkey on a mini-wreath with garland and gold balls. Perfect.

The girls looked lovely, lovely and had an absolute blast.

It melts my heart to know she asked on the walk home what will I be next year? Ahh, that’s my girl. Looks like the Halloween costume baby shower friends threw me while she was still inside my tummy worked.


A tiny empty spot inside me from when I left teaching sixth grade warms up whenever I walk by the Make-It Tent. All those kids around the age of double-matchsticks (eleven) creating, creating, creating. Next year, I will spend more time there.



It’s humbling to enter items in the fair. Of course, the discounted ticket is a nice touch but I mean, really, island talent is absolutely remarkable.

Lucy was stressed out about her Kangaroo mama and baby having to spend four nights at the textile barn.

Mama, why do you always make me stuff and then take it away and put it at the fair? It’s not fair.

Although you’re not supposed to touch the entries, exceptions were made for her lost time in kangaroo snuggles.

I made a too-tight bonnet for a dear friend’s daughter, Violet. Now Olive’s, it should keep fall’s chill far away.

I knew I wanted to make a ferry purse back in October of last year. We hoarded schedules all year for this very purpose.


My NY pretzels were good. In seven hours, I made a yeast sponge, tied doughy knots, let them rise and boiled them all before slathering them with egg whites, sesame seeds and sea salt. I ate two right out of the oven at midnight, before wrapping the rest for a.m. fair delivery.


My favorite part of the fair is the photographs. I love recognizing faces and mentally bookmarking ones to look for in the snapshots and to look for around town. The talent is a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I heard someone say they might bring back a film category next year. I would love a good reason to dig out our manual camera again.

4H inspires the girls and, let’s face it – a fair isn’t really A Fair without livestock. The mama pig had me thinking that maybe breastfeeding three babies past a year isn’t all that bad.


I just hope she can’t read this sign:


Oh, the food

& oh, the rides


& oh, the sky


&, oh how I love the fair.



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