When I was 10 years old, I visited the Bedford County fair. For something so simple and unsophisticated, it held a world of amazement for me. There were the smells of the cotton candy, snow cones and funnel cake along the concession stand area. The mechanical sounds of the amusements mixed with the natural sounds of the farm animals to create a montage I'd never heard before. The whir of the roller coaster competing with the mooing of the cows. Roosters crowing in time with the ringing of the bell as boys tried to impress their girlfriends with a show of strength. Pigs and piglets squealing as the little train went by, it's mini locomotive blowing it's piercing whistle. All of it making a strange mix of sites, sounds and smells that I haven't had in a long, long time.
But the thing that I remember most spending time by the cow stalls.
For some reason I was mesmerized by the large Jersey cows that the 4-H club had on display. I would sit on the split rail fence by the hour, watching not only the cow, but also the reactions of the people that came to visit them. I became such a fixture at the stall that people began asking me questions about the cows and I could actually answer them as if I was really part of the presentation or had any real knowledge about the animals or the upkeep involved.
The only people that weren't fooled by my devotion were the actual members of the 4-H club and the owners of the animals. It was as if I was up against an invisible barrier to acceptance or I carried some mark on my body or clothing that only real members could see that identified me...