Posts Tagged ‘tradition’

Northern California County Fair

Archetypal, the dusty parking lot

with hand-scrawled signs,

willows thick along the stony creek,

late-summer dry.

Body flattened to the ground,

small brown curly-haired dog

wills her three sheep smoothly

through all four gates.

Oblivious to all else,

a child sits in the dirt.

His hand through the chain-link fence

caresses a miniature goat.

Scent of fresh hay,

sweetness of animal dung.

At the ice-cream stall

a tot in her father’s arms demands

a chocolate-covered cone.

Unseen by the child,

the server also hands the man

a bowl and spoon.

Slices of heirloom apple

crisply tart on the tongue.

Angora rabbit pants as she

submits to being shorn.

Her cloud of fur becomes yarn

on the spinning wheel close by.

Ferris wheel whirl and squeal,

diesel rumble, carousel tunes.

Pink-cheeked above the white and green

of her 4H uniform,

a child sets down her golden trophy,

takes her bantam cock from the cage.

It nestles in her arms.

Old Linen

I’m one of those odd people who enjoys ironing. I especially like ironing old linen. Many years ago, I found a dozen double damask dinner napkins at an estate sale. They were yellow with age, their edges hand-stitched with tiny hems. Laundered to a gleaming whiteness, they grace my table at every holiday. Now they are washed again, spritzed with water, and wrapped in a towel, a method I learned from my mother and grandmother. I unroll the bundle, lay a damp napkin on the ironing board, hear the sizzle of the iron as it polishes the fabric until the medallion pattern shines. Once stiff, the linen is now soft in my hand as I fold and set it to air. There is a quietness about that stack of folded linen that speaks of history and tradition and pleasure in beautiful things.