Siobhan asked me the other day if I would like to go to the harvest festival with herself, her husband, and the darling little redhead that calls me “Grammy.” Of course I would. I would say yes to about anything that didn’t involve the shedding of blood to be part of the troupe. So they picked me up and off we went.
They have decided to wait a year or two before taking the child to the fair. That sounds like a good idea to me; I was brought up in a time when you didn’t go to the fair until you were 5 or 6 anyway. You see many babies on the paths and midway there now, but probably all the babysitters are at the fair anyway. I think Siobhan and Dave are trying not to push too much too soon on the little girl — rides and noise and crowds can be over-simulating, to adults if not to the kids.
Last year the big fall adventure was apple-picking. One of my favorite photos is Slade looking timeless in a skirt down to her boot tops and a cozy brown sweater clutching an apple that is about half the size of her head. She tried her best to take a bite out of every single apple, That might be a hereditary trait – my brother Michael used to raid the vegetable bins when he was a toddler. Mom would go to make supper to find one little bite out of every potato and every onion. Siobhan didn’t take to the produce like that, but at the library she would sit on the floor and read every page of a book before she decided it was good enough to bring home. No judging books by covers for her! Fortunately she outgrew that before she got to chapter books.
So this year featured the Harvest Festival that branches out of Underhill and may grow bigger every autumn, but is still manageable. We have been doing it for a long time. For a few years I rented a craft table where I sold dolls and cats and Christmas cards but these years I just go for the fun. My brother and sister-in-law were visiting their own granddaughter this year; in the past Debi has often been in the kitchen baking and selling huge cookies and Mike has organized security. It’s very family-friendly. Some years it rains, but not usually.
This year was sunny for the most part. We had to park quite a long way down the road and walk in. The children’s amusements are homemade and traditional – bean bag toss, stilts, testing your strength. No rides were needed – Sladey amused herself at a school fundraiser by testing out all the riding toys – tricycles, horses, rocking thises and thats, wagons – having a marvelous time with all the colorful, tempting toys. We walked down the sidewalk and were presented with free cookies. She tested the catnip from someone’s lovely border. Catnip still smells like catnip, and I wondered that the village cats had not flattened all the plants. Slade was fascinated and tried testing other leaves along the way, but they disappointed by only smelling green and leafy.
Slade was amenable to being introduced to old friends and learned something about looking at crafts and antiques with eyes, not hands, although one teddy bear got some extra hugs. She shared onion rings and sausages. The sun shone on her wonderful hair, more glowing than the trees are yet. The idea of harvest goes on, and a harvest festival is a perfect place to celebrate the ongoing tradition of family. May your harvest be of such things.