On Thursday my kids and I went with my mom to the fair and my evening prayer went like this:
Dear God, thank You for cool, cloudy summer days and for county fairs. For American traditions and the smells of wood smoke, kettle corn, cotton candy, and sawdust. For the sounds of kids laughing and tractors running and horses whickering. For old farm buildings draped with American flags and labeled with hand-painted “Agriculture” signs.
Thank you for decorated veterans proudly manning VFW cables and for strong young soldiers manning recruitment tents. For your creations: donkeys and giant cows and ducks and pigs and crazy-looking chickens with fluff balls of white feathers on their heads. For a 3-year-old who has to pet every sow’s ear that’s sticking out of a pen. For a daughter who observes the turkeys and says, “Take a look at the snood on that one!”
Thank you for excited children and little sticky hands in mine and little boys excited to ride on Kubota tractors and for the world’s biggest pumpkin. For blue-ribbon Gladiolas and peanut butter cookies and for little old ladies who sit by and guard their crocheted entries in the fine arts building. For friends to laugh with and the sun on our faces and beneath us, the grass trampled down from hundreds of passing-by human and animal feet.
For 4-H projects and kids who work so hard to make them. For the men and women and boys and girls who try to make this world a better place. For volunteers who are teaching children to follow along behind them. For policeman and deputies maintaining a presence to make us feel safe. For community heroes – firemen and EMTs, clergy, the people who just want to be helpers.
For eyes to see the collections of Elvis memorabilia, handmade artwork, prize-winning jams and jellies, salt-and-pepper shakers, ceramic roosters, and fairy dish gardens. For my mom and my children, all in good health and walking along beside me.
For the farmers who grow food for the world, for the land that they’re tied to, for the enduring path they lead their children and their grandchildren. For strong boys in mud-splattered jeans and work boots and John Deere caps. For little girls with sun-kissed skin in tank tops and Justin boots leading their prize-winning sheep around on a rope.
Thank you God for cooler days, for memories of times past and remembered fairs in far-away places. For enduring traditions and for people who still believe in You and in the American way.
God, I knew that You were everywhere, but this morning when I woke up, I never dreamed that I would run into You at The County Fair.