Saturday, August 11, 2012

For the Love of Chili Cheese and Fried Food

I am surrounded by clothes.  Mountains of white, blue, and tan.  Pants, shorts, and shirts.  It is time for the annual tradition of going through the uniform box to see what we have and what we need.  Every year it must be done, so do it we do.  We're going through it all a bit late this year, as school starts in a mere three days, but we're finally doing it.  It is a tradition I'm not particularly fond of. 

Fortunately, we have plenty of traditions that we love.

Milk shakes on Fridays after school.

4th of July parties at my dad's house.

Annual vacations with our family friends.

Watching the Super Bowl while stuffing ourselves.

Raking leaves for a lovely widow from church.

Going out to eat at the restaurant of the birthday child's choice.

So many wonderful traditions.

Another that we have is attending the Indiana State Fair.  We've been going since the kids were itty bitty, and we love every bit of it.  Each year we take a photo in front of the same little barn.

My sister and her little guy came with us one year.

It is the perfect way for us to keep track of their cuteness.  To help us remember how far we've come.

Each year their skinny little selves creep up a little higher on the sunflowers.

Those green hats are as much a part of the fair as the cows and the corn dogs.  Each year they are passed out at the little kids' farm area.  For years, I made the kids wear the hats every time we went out in public.  It was a cinch to pick them out of a crowd of kids at the playground.

A nephew came with us this year.

At the one and only garage sale I will ever have in my life, I sold 20 of those hats for $2 total.  And I still have a pile of them in the closet.

And now, my big kids have gotten to be as tall as the tallest of the sunflowers.  As I was going through the album to get some of these pictures, the kids were all huddled around me.  They were so excited to see how little they once were.  To watch themselves grow two feet just by turning a page.  They were also helping me solve the puzzle of which year each photo was taken.  A shout of, "Hey, I remember those shoes!" elicited a, "Which grade were you in when you wore them?" from me.  They were all giggling, trying to figure it all out.

I love that traditions give each family it's own, unique personality.  By looking at a family's traditions, you can see its dynamic.  You can get a sense of whether the family is adventurous or cautious.  Whether a family is structured or wild and free.  You can see whether a family tends toward redneck or refined.

Traditions help to tell a family's story.  By creating the traditions our family has, Hubby and I are writing our story.  Years from now, surrounded by our kids, their spouses, and our grandchildren, we will be laughing and remembering all of the things we did over the years. Traditions make it so much easier to remember the past.   We will bask in the stories that start, "We always," or "Every year we."  And then we will expand on the stories.  We will remember the details of what made each year special.  As for the fair, we will remember the year it poured down rain, and we darted between animal barns for absolutely no reason, as we got soaked to the bone anyway.  The year that the fumes from the tractor parade proved to be a bit too much for Phoenix, and he threw up all over the pavement.  The year that the Boy Scouts celebrated an anniversary, and the kids all climbed through a high rope obstacle course.

This year at the fair just added a bit more to our story.  What will they remember about this year?

Perhaps making dowels in the building of old-time crafts.  We talked with many grey haired folks who loved their tool making, tatting, quilting, and flintnapping. 

Maybe they'll be talking about the fact that it was the year of the dairy cow, and about how Cuckoo wore his cow hat and mooed all over the fairgrounds.

Or will it be the funny new statues all over the place that we just couldn't resist posing with?

It could be just about anything.

We were all waiting for Giant to finish his ice cream so we could go into the cow barn.  Hubby was cheering him on, which actually just made him laugh and eat slower.

Hubby and Phoenix seem to be in a contest of who can eat the most obnoxious burger.  Hubby is putting up a good fight, as the sticker shows, but Phoenix has him by a mile.

The kids don't even ask to go on the rides.  They know my firm rule:  We only ride permanent rides at an amusement park.  I made that rule partially because I am a bit nervous of the rides, but mostly because they are just too blasted expensive.

We love all of the free shows at the fair.  This was an exceptionally entertaining one; trampolinists.  Olympic trampolinists.  I don't remember seeing the trampoline competition during these London games, but the guy on the right was in the Beijing Olympics.

A little tip: don't put those football stickers on under your eyes.  They may leave a mark.

But I have a very good feeling that the Super Dogs show will be remembered the best.  Not because the show was so good, though it was, but because of the way Turken got into it.  The show included some dog races.  Each half of the crowd had a dog it was to cheer for.  Well, Turken is nothing if not a rule-follower.  He would sit completely calmly, almost like he was bored, until the starting whistle blew.  He then turned into a cheering maniac; jumping, clapping, and screaming his head off.

As soon as our dog hit the finish platform, Turken immediately stopped and sat down, once again calm and stoic. 

There were at least 8 races, and he did this each and every time.  The rest of us missed half of the races, because we were having such a good time watching him.

So another State Fair is through.  Another page in our family story has been written with the help of that tradition.  Man, have we come a long way.

I'd love to know about the traditions your family has.  What will your family be talking about around future Thanksgiving tables?

Have a lovely day!


  1. Your state fair looks like so much fun. I'm going to take my little guy to our county fair this week. I like your thoughts about traditions. I think it is so important to have traditions as a family, whatever they may be, because like you said, it binds the family together. Looks like so much fun!

    1. It is loads of fun, and every year they add to it. We have started going to our county fair each year, too. We enjoy the less fancy, yet still fun activities to do there. Enjoy!


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