Not only is Debbie my wife, she is also my organizer, alarm clock, dirty sock picker upper and much more. She’s also my PR agent.
Let me explain.
Our oldest nephew, Gavin, was one of three Iowa graduating seniors to receive the Gov. Terry E. Branstad Iowa State Fair Scholarship in a brief ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 14 at the Bill and Anne Riley Stage at the Iowa State Fair.
In hopes of securing a good location to take photos, I arrived a bit earlier than Debbie and rest of the family only to discover the place was packed. The ceremony was held prior to the crowning of the Iowa State Fair Queen and people were everywhere.
You know how people are at these type of event – they save seats - lots of seats for family and friends.
I found a seat about halfway back on the west side of the stage. From that vantage point, I would have been lucky to see Gavin, let alone take his picture.
After a bit, I decided to explore my options for a better photo of the scholarship presentation. That led me over to the east side of stage where Gavin and the other two scholarship recipients were. Gov. Branstad, Bill Riley Jr. and other dignitaries were also present.
Here comes Debbie. She walks right up on the east side of the Riley stage and speaks with lady from Iowa College Aid, the organization that handles the funding of the Branstad scholarship. She told her that I am a journalist and that I would like to get a photo of Gavin and the former governor. Just like that, I’m standing next to the former governor and I’m taking a photo of him and Gavin holding the certificate prior to the actual event.
I went from “I can’t see,” to being right in the middle of the action.
Debbie then directed me to a row of wooden chairs in front of the stage for the fair queen judges. I found a seat and was able to take some great photos.
“I got you right up there,” Debbie said to me after the presentation.
“You sure did,” I replied. “I couldn’t have done it without you.”
Debbie is a state fair junkie. She’s probably walked every inch of that fairgrounds. She’s spent hours there with her friends, her family and now with me.
She knows the shortcuts and she knows her way around. She understands the campground and the tradition of families, like hers, who have camped at the fair for many years. I’ve listened to many stories of trips to the fair and I welcome them every year.
She’s witnessed the many changes to the fair through the years – some she likes and some she doesn’t.
Now that we are married, camping and attending the state fair is part of our lives together. There is always something to do and see at the state fair. There’s people watching and people to visit with and benches to rest a spell and take a quick nap. Our nephews show livestock, so there are shows to watch.
The first building we stop at on the first day of the fair is Pioneer Hall. I enter antiques and this year I entered 10 items. I earned four ribbons, including a first place ribbon and rosette for my Will Rogers Clock from the 1940s. It’s a neat clock. I first saw it on American Pickers and later was able to purchase one from a seller in Ohio through Ebay.
I earned a fourth-place ribbon for a Wizard of Oz peanut butter tin, and a third-place ribbon for a lady’s hat that I found in my mother’s things from my parent’s estate. I can’t imagine my mother wore that hat, maybe her mother did. And I picked up a second-place ribbon for my patriotic postcards that I recently purchased on Ebay. I try to enter different postcards each year. My goal next year is to focus on agriculture-related postcards of tractors and farming equipment.
Anyway, on the last Saturday of the fair, we stopped at the state fair museums. As we milled about one of the museums, a couple and their daughter stopped to visit.
The gentleman shared a story about his mother, one of 14 children, saying some of the items in the museum were like things she used growing up. I shared a story about my mom using the metal top from an antique kitchen pantry, like the one they have on display at the museum, that she found at their farm to put out a fire that had gotten out of hand. I shared about meeting Debbie at the fair and about our books and such.
It was a nice time of reminiscing and reliving memories of days gone by. I always enjoy meeting and visiting with people. I wished I had written down their names. I hope to meet them again at the fair.
In this crazy-busy world, it’s nice to take a break from work and the cares of life and enjoy some time at the Iowa State Fair.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.