My heart was pounding so hard, I could feel it…thump thump, thump thump. I was walking fast. I was begging my mother to hurry up. 40 years ago this month, I ran up the stairs and once at the top, my eyes darted around. It must be here somewhere. Quilts, jars upon jars of canned vegetables and fruits, knit things, crocheted things……….come on……..
I slowed my pace. My heart was racing. I wanted to look, but I didn’t want to look. I was 12 years old. I had entered my first thing in the Puyallup Fair, now known as the Washington State Fair. I saw lots of ribbons on pies, cakes, cookies. I saw red, second place ribbons on coffee cake, urgh. I saw a white ribbon on what looked like a mess, I later read it was something called “chicken pot pie”.
I found the homemade candy section. I was lightning quick scanning for my peanut brittle. There is was. Hidden behind a BLUE RIBBON. I won a blue ribbon for making and entering peanut brittle. 40 years ago, parents didn’t praise you for everything that you did. A young lady, certainly didn’t jump up and down and holler, “LOOK everybody, LOOK what I won”! However, for that split second, I turned and look at my mother. She smiled and we giggled together. Yes, indeed. I remember that moment exactly. I won. She was proud of me. Heck, I was proud of me. I am sure my family was glad to not “taste test” the 9th batch of peanut brittle.
I don’t even remember the rest of the Fair that day. I was smiling and could only think of that ribbon, safely taped onto a paper plate, that held my three pieces of peanut brittle. My name on the label, clear as could be.
Yesterday we harvested two of our three pumpkins. First time ever we have planted and then harvested the orange gourds of goodness. Sure we have planted before, but never have we gotten any to actually harvest. One weighed in a 2 pounds and the other, a whopping 5 pounds. I was so excited and giddy. Two of the “orangiest” perfect, blue ribbon worthy pumpkins I have ever seen.
Yesterday, was the first time in a few years we were able to attend the State Fair. I was grateful and so dang tootin’ happy we did. It was like an old fashion date!
Just me and Mr. Right “doing the Fair”. We shared a big huge, tasty Bloomin’ Onion (deep fried, of course) and we each had our own scone and I may have left a trail of popcorn pretty much everywhere. We decided to skip the 2 FOOT LONG corn dog. Geesh, who could eat a corn dog that big? We held hands and watched some fancy talkers try and sell us everything from my name on a grain of rice, to an “Adventure Knife”, an amazing chip bag closure things, to the best branch cutter & ring cleaner ever.
Of course you KNOW I looked at the peanut brittle entries. They look very good. I was impressed. I was in agreement with the blue ribbon winner. This time, unlike 40 years ago, I took the escalator up to the second floor of the air-conditioned building. I gazed at the amazing quilts. I had my breath taken away by a couple of counted cross stitch pieces. I marveled at the canned pickles. The cucumbers lined up in the jar, like soldiers with a hot sassy red pepper in between each. So pretty. Such a skill. I was tickled and delighted to see the ribbons on the sewing projects of 3rd graders, 4th graders, 10th graders. The skirts, dresses, pillow cases and quilts (yes, quilts) were skillfully crafted and well deserving of those ribbons.
You just know we had to look at pumpkins, gourds and the Grange displays of fruits and vegetables. I saw sunflowers bigger than my head. Zucchini so big, I could not lift and corn stalks that were well beyond 8 feet tall. This year, the judges seem to fancy the white roses. There were grand champion ribbons on three varieties of roses and all were white. The dahlias, hydrangea and Japanese Lanterns were all perfect specimens. All had beautiful blue ribbons hanging from their vases.
Something tells me that the farmer who grew that didn’t jump up and scream, “LOOK at me!, LOOK what I won”! I am guessing he was giddy inside and thrilled to pieces when he saw the blue ribbon tacked up in front of his name.
They sell last year’s grand prize-winning pumpkin seeds for $1.00 a piece. Each seed, worthy of one dollar. Um, got me thinking. Just kidding. I think we will stay with the size we planted.
Oh yes, in the case of the Blue Ribbon gourd, size does indeed matter.