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Fall Fairs — Which One is Your Favourite?


“Canada’s Largest Four-Day Fair”

If you live in North America there’s a good chance that a fall fair has a special place in your heart. It might be big — huge! — like Toronto’s Canadian Nation Exhibition, or it could be quite small, showing off the best that a rural county has to offer.

For me, Markham Fair evokes memories of good times. During my teens (this is how nerdy I am) the smash-up derby and tractor pull were must-sees . Back in those days we knew a number of the crazy derby drivers, and local farmers entered their tractors in the unmodified class, sometimes straight out of the field after a day’s work! Of course fair food and, in my case, barf-inducing rides were part of the experience.

Later, I took my own kids to the fair. We’d go on the kiddie rides and check out school entries in the contests. It was always a big deal to see who had entered and won in each category. Continue reading “Fall Fairs — Which One is Your Favourite?”

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Mennonite Memories

We recently returned from a vacation that included a quick trip through Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Most people know Lancaster for its Amish and Old Order Mennonite population, and the horses and buggies that share the roads with cars. The same is true here in southern Ontario, where town names like St. Jacobs or Elmira conjure up similar images.

By contrast, my family and many friends, although Mennonite, live in the 21st century, linked to the world around us by media and technology, but it hasn’t always been so. When I was a child, my parents, grandparents, and nearly everyone I was related to, were members of the Conservative Mennonite church, a group that was outwardly identifiable by their dress, black cars, and lack of radio or television, although we had electricity, and modern appliances and farm equipment. This warm and supportive community worshiped together and socialized together, a comfortable life for a child.

Continue reading “Mennonite Memories”
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Cherry Pies and Letters

I can become nostalgic at the drop of a hat, but I didn’t see it coming yesterday when I stopped at McDoodles for one of their iced coffees.

I’d dropped my car at Canadian Tire to have a trailer hitch put on (another story for another post, maybe) and because it was only going to take an hour or so, I decided to take my power walk along a quiet, crescent-shaped street that begins and ends on the main drag through town. The early morning air was cool as I pumped along the shady road, but by the time I got back to the main street the sun hit me face-on and I was hot. Then, just ahead,  I saw the Golden Arches heralding a promise of  iced coffee relief. Continue reading “Cherry Pies and Letters”