Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Labor Day 2006: The Aftermath

Despite the drama of today's posting, in general there isn't much to report. After every trip I take, it is my earnest intention to reflect, not only on how we did relative to our goals, but also how the trip affected our lives... Nah, nothing quite so dramatic as all that.

I have to admit, first off, that we failed to meet all of our goals. Specifically, it was too cold for the Jet Ski... The idea didn't even cross my mind from the moment we arrived at camp on Saturday afternoon (after our successful errand in Bar Harbor).

The other goal we only partly met was outside our control. For weeks and weeks, Normal Girl has been telling me about the kettle corn at the Windsor Fair. As we were set to leave the fairgrounds, we began a frantic search for a kettle corn vender. At each turn we were greeted with doughboys, french fries (served in a dog bowl and spritzed with vinegar, of course), ice cream, jerk-marinated chicken and ribs (!?!), sausages (available in many ethnicities), etc... But no kettle corn.

When I was growing up in Bucksport, Labor Day was always time for the Blue Hill Fair, which I remember as being quite an event. As I walked across the Windsor fairgrounds, I had to wonder whether my recollection of Blue Hill's grandeur was flawed or whether the Windsor Fair was simply smaller in scale. All the Midway rides were there, but since Normal Girl isn't much for rides, the only one we rode was the "big slide" (you know, burlap sack, plastic slope). I'm not complaining; I was far too full with fried food to consider such stomach-flippers as The Zipper or Round-Up. Games of chance and skill I could do, and Normal Girl has a Curious George toy to show for my skill popping balloons with darts.

If you're into forestry or livestock, Windsor has you covered. Hulking machines such as the Wood Beaver 3000 (or something like that) were available for demonstration and sale, and if you wanted to survey the hind quarters of beef cattle, empty bleacher seats awaited.

One section of the fairgrounds was quite interesting, something I do not remember from other state fairs I've frequented. At the opposite end of the grounds from the funhouse and wheel-of-fortune stood several buildings from the original settlement at Windsor. In several of them you could watch craftsmen at work: a wood carver (solid wooden fedora on his head) whittling maple into antlers, a copper smith building ladles without solder, a blacksmith pounding ball-peen hammer against anvil, stoking his fire, puffing his pipe, lumberjacks squaring off trunks into beams suitable for building (and using only an axe to do it)... I was most mesmerized by the blacksmith. I wasn't alone---in his shop sat a full audience of middle-aged men interested in the lost craftsmanship and young children awed by the gleam of red-hot iron pulled from the fire.

Most of the weekend we spent sitting quietly on the porch swing. That may not make for an exciting story, but it was exactly what the doctor ordered. I worked on an essay about fate while Normal Girl threaded a cross-stitch I swear she is never going to finish. We went fishing on Sunday afternoon, but the fish were as scared away by the threat of Ernesto's leavings as the tourists seemed to be; I've never seen such light traffic through the Hampton Tolls, holiday weekend or not. I caught one small perch, which positively thrilled me--I was terrified to come home having left TWO of my goals unmet... That might lose me the faith of my readers.

On the way home, I saw something I was unprepared for: a red-leafed tree. Labor Day weekend not even over and already the foliage has turned along Route 202. Almost time to plan a winter getaway to warmer climes...