Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What do I hear at the State Fair?

I hear people talking and laughing outside the cabin. Feet shuffling as they come in. Rocks skittering as they are shuffled in by shuffling feet.

I hear a banjo at night, during Roger’s break.



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Roger Abrahamson, "Bodger" - wood turner

I hear a violin or Reybec (third cousin twice removed from the violin) playing. I hear a harp.


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Takara and David


Gaelic accent, Norwegian accent, slightly southern accent. People singing, people clapping, people dancing.

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"Ole Oleson" - Norwegian immigrant
I hear dumpsters being dumped. Sirens wailing. Helicopters overhead (and yes, one woke me up this morning at 6:00. flying twice over the campground!), jets taking off or landing at the airport. Diesel trucks driving by the fence.

Children crying; parents scolding. Children and parents laughing. Curious children; children that don’t want to learn. Parents showing off to children and children embarrassed for their parents.

Screaming guitars from the Grandstand competing with Johnny Cash wanna-bees on the Heritage Square stage.

Screams from people riding the wild, crazy rides just outside the Square. Vendors shouting their wares.

I hear “Is that (tomato, onion, bread, cheese, cricket sound) real?” “Are you really doing that?” “I thought you were a (manikin, dummy, wax figure, stuffed doll)!”

“There’s real PEOPLE in here!” “How do you do that?” “Are you really doing that?” “What’s for (dinner, supper, breakfast)?” “Did you REALLY cook that here?” “Is that food real?” “Look, she’s (sewing, crocheting, knitting)!” Whatever “she” is doing, it’s not what “she” is really doing. The spinning wheel is called a weaver, a sewing machine, among many other terms. Very few know what a spinning wheel is, or what it does. The miniature loom is usually called a weaver if they even know vaguely what it does. Some people don’t even know what the harp is! Embroidery is often called crocheting.

“Can we go upstairs?” “Why not” (We cannot allow guests to go up the stairs because of fire codes.) “What does it look like up there?” (We are in the process of framing a picture of our “bedroom” for people to see.)

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Bedroom with a real straw tick (and, yes, it's great to sleep on!)

“Why is the chimney like that?” (Mr. Peterson started work on the chimney before he realized he was going to cover up my window. Now he says he did it on purpose to help the smoke draw better,)


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State Fair guys put the chimney in this way - don't know why! I'ts not the original chimney!
“Can you imagine living here?” “A whole family lived here.” “This is your whole house!”

Then there are the stupid people who think they are funny (there is nothing worse, for me than those kinds) …. “Where’s your TV? (giggle, giggle, giggle!)” “Where’s your satellite dish? (snicker, snicker, snicker)” “Where’s your air conditioner? (hehehehehe)” “Where’s your bathroom? (Ha ha ha!!)”

The best comments are: “Cool!” “Sweet!” “This is great!” “Wow!” “My Mom (Grandma) used to do that!” “My Mom (Grandma) used to have that!” “This looks just like my Mom’s (Grandma’s) house.”

We had one young man, yesterday, that repeated “Oh! My God!” over and over. He kept holding his hand over his mouth as if he were going to throw up. He could NOT believe that people actually lived in such primitive, horrible, uncomfortable, unsanitary conditions! No matter what we said to tell him that this was a good situation, he was horrified; his eyes were just popping out in horror! What would he have said, thought, done, if we had told him that people live, today, in America, in worse situations that this?

We do have curious, interested people. Some want to learn – “I’ve always wanted to learn (spinning, embroidery, sewing).” They want to learn what we can teach them, they are curious about everything. We can teach them on the spot or we can send them to someone who can teach them. They are the ones that make the time at the cabin worthwhile. They are the ones who make the long, loooong time at the Fair worth surviving.

And survive, we will. It will be another beautiful day at the Fair. You have a beautiful day!

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