Banana Splits and Apple Dumplings

GA National Fair, Banana splits, apple dumplings
Banana Splits and Apple Dumplings, 2006
GA National Fair
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Some more pics from the fair. Click on the images to go to the larger ones at Flicker. Once on the Flickr page click on “all sizes” at top and the larger one will come up. Some of these came out OK but aren’t what I wanted.

GA National Fair - Boy with balloon
Boy with balloon
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GA National Fair - Girl with balloon
Girl with Balloon

One of 10,000 Georgia National Fair Confectionaries
Cotton candy stand
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GA National Fair - Boy looking at belts
Boy Looking at Belts
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Georgia National Fair

GA National Fair - Fresh Grilled Sandwiches
Georgia National Fair Fairway, 2006

We made an excursion down to the Georgia National Fair Sunday with my brother G. and his wife and two daughters.

My sister-in-law had said, “We’ve got to see Okefenokee Joe if he’s there.” I’d looked up on the website and saw he would be. I didn’t know who he was, had missed his show on PBS back in the early 1990s.

We arrived at the fair about 2:30, a 2.5 hour drive from here, having hooked up with G. and M. at a roadside Burger King on the way there. G. and M.’s two daughters are both three and we didn’t know how long they would hold out so we decided to do the agricultural/stock side first and then if the girls tired we would stay on and cross the Midway to give H.o.p. a chance for a couple of rides before heading back home. We saw the next Okefenokee Joe performance wouldn’t be until about 7:00.

H.o.p. wanted to ride a shetland pony for a few minutes for $5. We stood and watched them trying to get the ponies going for the people ahead of us, which took a while as the ponies had determined the thing to do was stand like statues. Then it was H.o.p.’s turn and I turned my back. H.o.p.’s first time on a pony (a pony can feel quite big to kids) and what happens but he was half way on and it ran off with him as far as it could go in its turn-a-wheel space, but I heard a a hubbub and turned back around to see H.o.p. hanging on to the saddle horn, dangling, and the attendant trying to stop the pony which was determined to trot. Seems H.o.p. has my luck with horses as I’ve never ridden once without the horse, no matter how purportedly well-behaved, deciding to run free and wild and scrape me off under the nearest branch. But H.o.p. stuck it out and had his ride and was thrilled.

“I felt like a cowboy bouncing along,” H.o.p. said as to the pony taking off with him, “but I hung on tight.”

We saw a Tennessee Walker competition (wild eyed things with their broken tails standing up high). Saw a barn full of bulls and an Angus competition. Spent a long time going through the science exhibits. By the time we made it to the sheep and goat barns most of the stalls were emptied but there were still a few animals to stand around and ogle. Went to the petting zoo where were camels and llamas and exotic creatures. Doesn’t sound like much but by the time we were done with all this it was after 6:00 and time for a bite to eat. So we missed touring the dairy and chicken areas, which was too bad, but H.o.p. had picked up a “dinosaur egg” to bring home, put in water and hatch. The place is huge and a good bit of time is spent just walking to get from Point A to B to C through a myriad of smells and lots and a suitable annointing of manure.

There were a zillion food stands, lots of bar-b-que, smoke wafting heavy over the fairway. Rested the feet at one of the few picnic tables we found while the kids ate corn dogs and french fries then it was after 7:00 and time for Okefenokee Joe.

Actually, we had thought about going and hitting the rides with H.o.p. and passing up the Okefenokee Joe presentation but rethought that and went along. And glad we did as Okefenokee Joe is a captivating speaker and his show was quite unlike what I had expected. His presentation is not so much about snakes as he uses the snakes to talk about ecology, conservation and responsibility and approaches the subject of wildlife in a respectful, unsentimental way that has nothing to do with Disney or animals as entertainment. It was marvelous, a wonderful education for H.o.p. (and not just kids but for most adults present) which I could have listened to for hours.

After that we hit the Mitchell Showboat Marionette show, which the kids really enjoyed. But a warning is in order. There was a place in front of the miniature showboat for kids to congregate but H.o.p. chose to watch from the bleachers. And it was a good thing because one of the scenes involved a puppet watering a balloon garden, and the puppet playfully sprays the kids down with water from its hose. Some of the kids weren’t so crazy about this, such as H.o.p.’s youngest niece who doesn’t yet speak English and was just confused. Plus it was night, getting very cool and H.o.p. was only in a thin short-sleeved t-shirt with no jacket.

We then were treated to a grand fireworks display, and wrapped up the day with a carousel ride. H.o.p. will ride a pony that’s determined to take off down the fairway, but when it comes to the carousel he always wants to occupy the sole seat provided for those who don’t like to go up and down, which he doesn’t like to do, go up and down. Which I think is funny. Carnival rides are attractive to him, he wants to look at them all, but doesn’t want to ride anything but the carousel. Yet a cantakerous pony is fine, even though he admits he was kind of scared when it took off and left him hanging on the saddle horn. I certainly couldn’t tell he was scared, though. He was all grins and eager. “That was a good pony,” he says, “because some horses just buck and kick off cowboys.”

This wasn’t the fairgrounds of my youth which were pretty seedy, where the promenade to the rides took one through the very dimly lit sideshow area that promised oddities and flesh shows. There was in only one oddity show that I saw, which was a tiny Disneyesque looking cottage with a large sign on a white picket fence that read “48 inch tall woman. West Indies Cultural Exhibit. Educational”. We passed it by, but the sign struck me as what was the odd part. Now I wonder how it was educational. Does the 48 inch tall woman spend time talking with the people so they realize she’s people like them but has a hard time dealing with living small in a big world?

Somehow, I managed not to take a single good picture. Very disappointing. Was really hoping for at least a handful of shots that I could play around with. The only time H.o.p. was standing still long enough for me to get a shot of him was when he was eating. I tried for people shots all day long but everyone, of course, always had their backs turned as they were facing the exhibits. Plus we were always on the move so I never had a chance to stand and look for a picture. Nearly every shot I took was while I was walking, scarcely slowing to click the shutter then hurrying to catch back up with the ever-onward momentum of the stroller.

Day at the Fair #2
One niece pretending to pout for the camera
The people in the background are unrelated, watching activity further beyond. Really wish they weren’t standing there.

Day at the Fair #1
Another niece fascinated by the camera
Again, the people in the background are unrelated, watching activity beyond. Again, really wish they weren’t standing there.

Georgia National Fair, Corn Dogs, 2006
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H.o.p. eating freshly made french fries at the fair
H.o.p. eating french fries at the fair made fresh on the premises from real potatoes (right before your very eyes). Bags of vidalia onions in the background used for onion blossom fries.

New Echota

New Echota
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Emerson writing of the American Indian Removal of 1838 said, it was a “crime that really deprives us as well as the Cherokees of a country; for how could we call the conspiracy that should crush these poor Indians our Government, or the land that was cursed by their parting and dying imprecations our country, any more?”

New Echota was for a brief period of time the capital of the Cherokee Nation in Georgia. The attempt to protect Cherokee lands failing, they were rounded up by thousands of Federal soldiers, placed in stockades, then sent to Oklahoma on the infamous Trail of Tears. Over 4000 individuals died.

The New Echota State Park, a memorial to the Cherokee people, was established in the early 1960s, and with its establishment laws had to be changed which had been implemented to prevent the return of the Cherokee and which had never been taken off the books.

My husband has Cherokee/Chahta ancestry. Earlier this month, on my husband’s birthday, we drove to New Echota to walk the streets of New Town with our son who has Cherokee/Chahta ancestry through his father, and Ioway ancestry through me.

We appeared to be the only ones there. Before starting on our unguided walk around the grounds we sat alone in the theater and watched a 17 minute movie on the history of New Echota. As the movie ended, hearing a clearing of throat that announced the entrance of another person, I expected the park ranger who’d ushered us into the theater but instead it was another park ranger. He looked eager. First he offered a bit of information on the surrounding exhibits, I think as part of a trial move to see how ready we were to listen, then given half an opportunity he started amending the history given in the movie (and he had done his history) telling us all about the suffering of the Cherokee and their ill treatment by Anglo-European settlers and how the generic histories aren’t accurate on the account. What he wanted us to leave with was a knowledge of how the Cherokee were and are a people, not just illustrations on the movie screen, and while he talked I wondered, it being North Georgia, how many visitors had at least some Cherokee ancestry. We didn’t mention anything about distant Cherokee ancestry or that we already knew much of the history he was relating. It’s something that’s just meaningful to us, and it was good to hear him talking with such passion on the subject.

It was late in the afternoon and the park closes at 5, so we had to disengage and get on with our tour, though it would have been nice to talk a little longer. By now there was another family, a young woman with two young children. Our courses sometimes intersected but did so without conversation. The mother wasn’t interested in saying hello but a girl H.o.p.’s age was obviously interested in H.o.p., smiling at him and as they walked past us once she did what she could to put herself on a collision course. H.o.p., interestingly, was bashful for the first time in his life as she waved and grinned, doing her best to almost collide with him in passing, to which he responded by barely acknowledging her, ducking his head down while also glancing up with a shy half-smile and stepping around her. Because he was forced to step around her as she wasn’t moving out of his way.

There’d been a brief drizzle before we arrived at the park, but not long after we began our walk, the thunders made an appearance in earnest, rumbling the air and easing the heat with a shower of respectable length and vigor. As many of the reconstructed buildings were closed (we could look through the open windows at the exhibits) we waited out the heavier parts of the showers on the porches. The earth roads that follow the plan of New Town became muddy, became swampy, so we kept to the grass. But H.o.p. was in his moccasins (mass-manufactured mocs that he simply wears because he’s got crazily sensitive feet and these feel good on his feet) and the mocs ended up saturated and caked with mud and his pants soaked up to the knee. Fortunately, as part of day trip equipment, we’d brought along a change of clothes for him. Fortunately, too, I got H.o.p. in some Keen sandals early this summer, or at least bought him some because they are thus far the only other shoe he’s tried on in years that he said felt good. He wouldn’t wear them all summer, stuck to his mocs, but several weeks ago had no option but to wear them, remembered how great they felt, and has at least not argued since against them. The mocs were, after a year’s worth of hard wear, done in by New Echota and I need to order him some more.

After our walk we returned to the museum but only did a hasty brush through as they were getting ready to close. I bought a small book on finger weaving, which I’ve tried before, self-taught. I may try making a sash for H.o.p.

I’ve got a few pics from New Echota and will put them up later but they’re not much.

Natural Topiaries

Natural Topiaries (Color)
Natural topiaries
Copyright J Kearns 2006

Natural Topiaries

Went trekking through some fields down into a valley out back of a Blues joint in N. GA for this and coming upon this lovely road was escorted away by 4 big dogs that met me and let me know that to go further on this farmer’s land was to risk more than I wanted to for some photos. The dogs were friendly about it, but were definitely the security system.

“What were the dogs saying?” H.o.p. asked, coming up to me as I returned across the fields.

Thoroughly H.o.p.

“They were telling me not to go any further,” I replied.

H.o.p. wanted to know if he could go meet them and talk to them and I told him I would prefer he didn’t.

Have also got a few shots of the unexpected, lovely valley but haven’t finished working with them yet.