One Summer Fair

7 08 2013

One Summer Fair

 

Available at Amazon as a Kindle Edition. Go to books and search via author’s name. Here’s an excerpt from the opening:

            As I entered, my mind had to take time away from the sights and sounds surrounding to attend to images evoked by the scents within the tent. The smell of canvas brought back memories of twenty years passed, memories of a grandfather’s old knapsack carried on explorations of an eighty-acre wood, a wood old and virginal as a Celtic convent. Memories, too, reared of the old tarpaulin wrapped around a number of pine poles to make a tipi, a small tabernacle in a wilderness at the farthest reaches of an old man’s farm, a holy place within a place of holies, a place to sit and be silent and listen to the whispers of silence, to that still small voice speaking.

A loud voice spoke, “Step right on around, ladies and gentlemen. There’s plenty of room for everyone. Come all the way around from either side of the entrance, but please don’t cross the ropes.”

“Which way, Averyl?” Valerie asked me.

“It doesn’t matter,” I said. “There are no choice seats.”

There were no seats at all. People moved along the walls of the big, octagonal tent, found a place to stand somewhere on the outside edge of the double rope fence, and looked in toward the center.

My cousin and I found a place. Valerie stood waiting, looking at the other people filling the canvas room. I looked up at the roof. I was glad to see that all the flaps were open to let as much of the heat out as possible. The tent’s color was the basic off-white, a tint that would reflect much of the sun’s rays.

I looked at the floor. I nudged Valerie and pointed down. “He doesn’t have just straw spread out on the ground,” I said. “See?  Alfalfa and clover hay.”

“What for?” she asked. “He certainly doesn’t need it for feed.”

“It smells nice,” I answered. I thought of curving fields filled with purple and violet flowers.

“Better than dust and sweat,” Valerie said. “And some stinks I won’t mention … yet.”  She was still in a bad mood.

The loud voice resumed speaking. It belonged to a man dressed in big hiking boots, black pants, and a black and red plaid shirt. The belt around his ample middle held a long hunting knife. He had red hair receding from the front and a full beard to match. Gray eyes scanned the audience. “And now, ladies and gentlemen, all the way from the Saint Elias Mountains of the far north: Nikishka, the glacier bear!”

He turned to look at the doorway behind him. The flaps parted and in came a woman leading a bear on a stainless steel chain. The woman looked to be the same age as the man. Maybe she was his wife. She handed him the chain and then left. He walked to the center of the arena and attached the end of the chain to a stout picket almost buried in the ground. Next, he took hold of the bear’s collar and began leading him slowly around the room. The bear walked willingly. The length of the chain allowed the bear to come almost to the rope fence, but not quite. Everyone was able to get a good look, and the bear looked into most of the faces that had come to see him.

“What a rip-off,” said Valerie.

“What do you mean?” I asked. “He’s beautiful. Have you ever seen a bear that color?”  He had a shining coat of Maltese blue.

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