Spending the summer months at Great Uncle Merritt’s big, old, colonial era farm-home in Heath, afforded endless, wonderful opportunities for us five children to explore the whole area, inside all the buildings, and, as far as Mom would allow, to roam freely the surrounding fields and forests.
We had known for a week that we were going to the Heath Fair, so our childish efforts at “taking Heaven by storm,” to assure perfect weather, seemed to have paid off. Blue skies, puffy white clouds, and a brisk southwesterly breeze foretold of a perfect day to enjoy all the attractions the fair had to offer.
Our dearly loved neighbor Jennie Duncan would soon appear driving McAdoo hitched to the three-seated buggy that would take us all over the dirt roads to the stone fenced fairgrounds.
The fair would be a new experience for us five children. Our outings were usually limited to activities we could all do together with the least possible monetary cost.
As we neared the cemetery, soon to take a left to head for town, we could hear other conveyances coming up the hill from the south—all headed for the fair. Jennie snapped the reins, urging McAdoo to a quicker pace, not that we wanted to be first to arrive at the fairgrounds, but so we wouldn’t be “eating the dust” of the other travelers. As we progressed, Jennie gave us a thumbnail sketch of fair activities from past years and the news that there was to be a very special parade float, due to the combined efforts of two of the prominent summer families.
My three remaining memories of the rest of the day are of the cows being used to demonstrate the latest in milking machines and the “special” float consisting of a handsomely made young man—completely naked except for a strategically placed grape leaf—totally covered in gold paint. Paint that was toxic that had to be washed away within a fixed time limit in order to avoid suffocation!
My third memory? Right after the “Golden Adonis” left the parade to dive into his patron’s swimming pool, my lunch refused to stay down and I spent the rest of the day three-quarters out of it, lying on the back seat of the three-seated buggy!