Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Life Lessons from the Cornish, NH Fair

I spent a week in Lyme, NH. In the Lyme General Store I spied a brochure for the Cornish Fair.  Cornish, NH wasn’t that far away, and a small rural fair seemed like fun, so I was intrigued. 

When we got there I learned that the Cornish Fair celebrates the farming traditions of the community. We saw the oxen pulling contest and the woodsman sawing competition, but we missed the antique tractor pull and the sheep blocking and trimming. There were lots of 4-H exhibits, where the kids were showing off the animals they had raised and trained.  When they weren’t showing they were lounging all over these animals.  Their attachment and comfort with them was so evident, it was touching.  They were clearly learning important life lessons about being caring, committed and reliable. 

In a totally surprising way, I found another example of how these kids were learning life lessons. Up the hill from the fair grounds, in the local school, were all the exhibits for produce, and prepared food--think jams, pickles, dilly beans, cakes and pies--as well as beautiful hand-sewn quilts.  Walking through the hall of the school, I came across an essay on a classroom door.  Unlike all the farm focus, this was an essay on art. It’s how a student, Shawn Costello, learned important life lessons through art.  It’s exceptionally thoughtful and I had to share it.