The state fair has opened here and the tidings were good for the first group of competitions I entered. The rusty iron garden marker I made garnered a blue ribbon, and so did my kite (see post below). My floral arrangements did well, and I was happy to see firsts on six out of ten, including the one above, representing “On Golden Pond”…
and this one, representing “Indian Summer”…
But it was my big fair-theme exhibit, illustrating “Mountains of Fun,” that really knocked me sideways. Using things passed down to me by my mother, I made a “mountain” camping scenario with flower arrangements in her cast-iron frying pan, her Dutch oven, her old coffee pot, and her old gray-wool blanket. I found it covered with big ribbon rosettes: First Place, Best Fair Theme Award, Judges Award… I don’t have a photo of the whole exhibit because I constructed it there at the fairgrounds, but here’s the frying pan with its batch of “eggs”…
I sat on a bench and wept for the resilience of the human spirit. For the grace and mercy of God, who brings healing after a long season of sorrow. For the great blessing of my parents, who, in spite of their imperfections and the tragedies of their deaths, helped make me the person I am today. For the tenacity I’ve learned in Alcoholics Anonymous, to discover myself by simply being willing to put one foot in front of the other in pursuit of dreams. The ribbons meant more than just a prize; they represented rebirth. They proved to me that you can accomplish meaningful things if you're willing to just make a beginning. And everything that happens in your life, both the miseries and the untold many ordinary events, combine to enrich you and bring you joy if you make the smallest attempt to view life with eyes of hope.
Epiphany after Winning a “Best of Show” Ribbon at the State Fair
I was taking a piss in a bathroom stall
at the fairgrounds when everything changed
between God and me.
Dad, I said,
I was raised with Almighty God
on the Judgment Seat,
Dad, I said, you’ve been good to me.
I’m a sinner and a cheat but you don’t knock me
upside the head & say, To hell with you!
You say, Here, sweet thing,
is food & water
& more than you have wished for.
I have a drug addict heart but you see
the thing in me you made on a good day
when your creative juices
were pumping up a storm.
You see me with love that says,
You are really something,
my blue-ribbon child.
I left that toilet a woman changed
for reasons I don’t understand
I called him Dad.