Grange Fair

Dear Dan,

It’s Grange time again. Last evening I went there with a friend. Of course I thought of the summers when we would visit the fair. Mom would drop off you, me and Mary Lou for the afternoon.

We’d walk around, eat, look at the “animules” and ride the rides. I liked walking through and looking at the animals — especially the horses, of course.

I remember there being a lot more rides back then. The layout of the fair was different then as well. The rides took up more space over at the one side of the fair. Food and games were in the center; pigs in the back. Now, the pigs, food and games are all sort of mixed together. The rides are split into two areas, separated by animal barns and food. The commercial and competition buildings are still in the same places. Pickles might have moved one building over.

When we spent the afternoons there “unsupervised,” we were in late grade school and early middle school. By the time Mary Lou and I hit middle school, she and I moved our separate ways.

Parents  can’t let kids that age run around alone today. There would be too much possibility of someone abducting them.

One year you drove Kathy and me to the Grange. That must have been your senior year in high school. The Grange was a political opportunity for you by then. No more rides for you, buddy! It was all eating and shaking hands. The animal barns were still the place to see and be seen. So was the Democratic Party tent and the Ammerman tent, of course. That part hasn’t changed, especially in an election year.

So a I was walking through the fair last evening, there was a nice feeling of continuity. Back at the fair, walking with a friend who grew up in Lemont, eating the same types of food and looking at the goats.

Just like my life, some of the fair has remained the same; some bits have shuffled around; some bits are missing. But it’s all still there in my memory, just like you are.

I love you, bro.

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