As I write this, many of you will still be in bed but soon to rise and head to the Great Darke County Fair. You will walk the midway or sit alongside of the Coliseum, searching for familiar faces. Those reliving memories from years gone by. I once looked for friends in the animal barns. I held hands with my guy who just might win a teddy bear for me. We ate cotton candy, waffles and all the things that the fair had to offer. We hugged relatives we only saw once a year. We watched the ponies run and stood by the fence hoping to catch a bit of the fair shows.
Well, it was a long time ago when I last returned with my twentyish children along with one new granddaughter. Nothing had changed except the age of the people and the number of campers parked in the field. That granddaughter is 6 months shy of the years ago when we last attended. Yes, it has been almost 20 years.
I drag my feet when I think of returning. Those past memories are very sweet. Now I would return as an older woman, looking for faces that have changed as much as mine. All those things that made the fair fun will have changed. Many of the faces I saw on my last visit are gone. Yes, it would be different.
It becomes more and more difficult to return to my roots. The houses on Neff Road are different. My dear ones are gone. Greenville is not the town where I grew up, and my memories teeter on an edge of altered or erased. There was a sweetness in the times on the farm. It was maybe not so much about the place as it was the people. I don’t think you notice so much when you live there. You change with the things around you. While those of us who live away notice the changes. Yes, life goes on unless that last picture captured in time still resides in your mind and does not capture the changes.
There is a true sense of loss. Loss of family members, loss of neighbors, loss of time. I debated a long time on whether to come back to the fair. I did want to see you again. I did want new memories to carry home with me. The amount of miles I traveled had worn me out. Long trips from Oregon to Ohio plus well over 800 miles of driving in two weeks had taken its toll. By the time Loren got to Indiana, I was done. We decided to just spend time with June and family, relaxing in a whole new way. The city life, traffic and daily routine stepped aside for cornfields, a duck named Henry, bunnies hopping around the yard, a little girl named Della and stars in the sky. Loren got to meet family and to savor life in the country. His photographic mind captured it all making him ready to return soon.
Yes, I missed the fair this year and many of your lovely faces. We will return in the spring, so Loren can bring his old Deardorff 4×5 camera. A great old wooden camera, taking pictures of beautiful old places. So don’t hold it against me for not making it this time. I was not ready, and it was not the time.
Have a great time at the fair. You might even remember the young girl who loved the fair as much as you do.
Pamela Loxley Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.