by Liz Flaherty
I am…yeah, I gotta admit it, a person who runs mainly on emotion. That’s not always good, as most of us know, especially others who have the same operating system. While being emotional is tremendous fun when all is going well, it’s not fun at all when all is not. Which leads me to the subject of the day.
Festivals. Fairs. Rodeos. Carnivals. Circuses. It is—at least in the Midwest—the season for them. In central Indiana where I live, there is a festival in virtually every small community. Our county seat, Peru, is the “circus capital of the world,” complete with a week-long carnival called Circus Days, at least eight performances of the biggest amateur circus in the world, and enough tiger/elephant/lion ears to supply sugar to a small state for a year.
In my August Heartwarming, NICE TO COME HOME TO, there is afestival at Keep Cold Orchard, which Cass and Luke share ownership of. It was fun writing the festival scene—walking around with Cass and her clipboard and hearing the music Luke and his brother Seth played in the coffee shop. Feeling the growing closeness between Luke and Cass. While it’s probably not that emotional of a scene, it drew me in. It made my heart sing. I hope readers hear its music, too.
I also hope you’re having a wonderful summer and that you do some walking around at local festivals. It does the heart good. And the sugar’s not bad, either.
by Helen DePrima
by Helen DePrima
When I was growing up, summer for most kids I went to school with meant swimming lessons at the community pool, endless bike rides through their neighborhoods, maybe away camps for the luckier ones. For my cousins and me on my grandfather’s farm, school letting out meant freedom to spend the summer with our horses. Sure, we had our chores, but riding, planning rides, inventing games on horseback, and hanging out with other horse-crazy kids filled our leisure hours from sunup to sundown. And cleaning our tack for the horse shows.
Horse shows were the high points in our summer. Not elaborate competition with expensive mounts maintained and transported by high-end stables -- we attended local shows, often church-sponsored charity events which included a modest fair and the inevitable chicken or country ham dinner prepared by the ladies of the parish. Pickups hauled two-horse trailers to the far end of a grassy field mowed short for the occasion, and long-suffering parents watched over the horses and ponies while we explored the fairs’ booths, throwing darts at balloons and beanbags at targets for tacky prizes, smearing our hands and faces with cotton candy and Snow-Cones until time for exasperated parents to stuff us into our riding habits.
The youngest riders went first, three and four-year-olds in boots and jodhpurs handed down from
The real value of those competitions was the responsibility we took for most of the preparation. Our families got us to and from the events, but we kids trained our horses the best we knew how, cared for our gear, and accepted wins or defeats because we knew we had earned them. Those who placed first performed the best, and no one dreamed of expecting a token prize for participation. We would try harder and do better the next time. Maybe even win the blue ribbon.