It’s Summer – and That Means the County Fair

The county fair is going up next door – and I always think of hometown Ohio and the county fair of my childhood. I wrote about it previously in another blog post, but it’s a ritual that pops up on my seasonal nostalgia calendar, taking on new dimensions each time.

This year I am thinking about “simple.” I guess this is what we do at this age, think back and applaud “how simple life was back then.” Huh?? Honestly – that’s not my point! What I’m reflecting on is the innocence and wonder that aren’t diluted by life experiences (things like creaky backs, intellectual bravado and Supreme Court decisions) – instead, the one-dimensional connections of a child who sees things fairly crisply. Horse=merry-go-round. Fair=cotton candy. Razzle dazzle=fireworks. Associations like that.

(Not “fair=traffic, congestion, where am I going to park, standing in line forever, 90-degree misery, hand sanitizers after petting the animals, The Wailers one more year and another resurrection of The Kingston Trio??? and other musings of cranky adults who have temporarily forgotten what it’s like to see the world as an adventure, an experiment in each new thing.)

So this fair season, I choose to reconsider the traditional county fair. The simplicity of my childhood is comforting. And I know there are a lot of you out there who are likely on the same track. I’ll be thinking of you when the big boom sounds and connects us on July 4 at 9:45 pm outside my window (and July 3 and July 5 and July 6 and July 7 this year….) While the fireworks were a heck of a lot more spectacular when I was only 9,  I’m happy to watch the light show through my neighbors’ children’s “oh, wow!” eyes and once again connect the dots of a lifetime.

Here are some pictures I found that my father took in developing his paintings for this book. Compare these with the book photos in the other blog item. You’ll see what inspired him and how he used his vision to commemorate everyday scenes that were solid, affirming, dependable, rewarding. Today these scenes are likely hokey to children and grandchildren, but isn’t the simplicity quaint, refreshing, even relaxing?2115143-R1-E0052115143-R1-E0132115143-R1-E015

2115143-R1-E004Happy 4th 2013!!

About The Artist's Eye

Writer, consultant and author of The Artist's Eye: Vernon P. Johnson's Watercolors of 1950s Small Town America
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3 Responses to It’s Summer – and That Means the County Fair

  1. David Warren, Mt Vernon H.S. Class of 1954 says:

    Your dad’s Artist’s Eye turned these ordinary photos into the magic of watercolor images that bring both the scene and old memories to glorious life. He was truly a magician who made visions out of mere vision. And those visions trigger even other visions in the viewer. Just like your blog does!

  2. Sam Barone says:

    Janis, I’ll be viewing the Knox County Fair (depicted above) though refreshed eyes this summer, thanks to your delightful blog entry!

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