Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Happy JUNE!!!

   It's June! I've always loved this month, and my love affair with it started when I was a little kid. In my home town of Hampton Falls, NH, we had two important town functions that occurred in June which were run by the volunteer fire department. They consisted of a very special fair and a horse show. The first Saturday in June was the annual Village Green Fair. I LOVED the fair and I looked forward to it all year long. For me it was like a second Christmas, except the weather usually called for shorts and a tank top instead of a down jacket and knit cap.  The fair was held on the town common, a swath of land in the middle of town which had a tall obelisque monument surrounded by a granite border, with old cannons and piles of cannon balls at four corners.  The common is still there in all of its glory, in case you're curious. The Fair had a used book table, bric-a-brac table ( never really spent much time there so not sure exactly what bric-a-brac consists of...what an olde term!), rummage sale (lots of old, cool clothes), an art sale, an auction of old furniture, and whatever else the townsfolk wanted to sell,  a dunking tank (fun to watch, but not fun to be on the plank with random people throwing a ball at an ancient arm to attempt to dunk you in the murky water that the fireman pumped into a rusty metal tank that was coated with yards of poly paper the night before the fair), a frog jumping contest (run by my dad, yeah he was the presiding judge of frog jumps and he rocked that role for years),  hamburgers and hotdogs offered at the lunch table, and last, but not least, PONY RIDES! The year I was 9 yrs. old I took so many pony rides that the pony ride people started letting me take the ride by myself. I was a gold star customer! It was heaven for a horse crazy kid. Teeny Shetland ponies, clad in stiff western tack, cranky little cusses, but willing to take a kid like me for a stroll down the lawn and back equalled heaven to me. I think I spent a total of 8 dollars that day. It was a quarter per ride. Ahh, those were the days. My mom was working the rummage sale during the fair and she happily doled out quarters to her horse crazy daughter, oblivious of what kind of demonic equine love she created with each coin she sent my way. I know she doesn't regret it and neither do I. The Fair. Such golden memories. I can still feel the tingle of waking up on the morning of the Fair!!

   My second special June memory was the Hampton Falls Fire Department Horse Show. I believe it was held the weekend after the fair. My first memory of the show was when it was held just down the street from where I grew up. I would grab a bowl of Life cereal and perch on the rock at the end of my road by 7 a.m. to watch the horse trailers roll by on their way to the show grounds.  It was thrilling to watch the 70's trailers which were unique, often homeade jobs, cruise by me. Rickety rigs, pulled by station wagons, or old pick ups.  I would spend the day surrounded by quarter horses, appaloosas, morgans and arabians, smelling their fragrance, eating dust and watching the riders in their English and Western finery. Snow fencing created the "ring". It was a plain, old open field all year long, but during the show it was a place where horses were shown! Shown! I loved it! The Indian paintbrush flowers that grew there were beaten down during the show and there wasn't any special footing. But this was horse show! I knew it was part of me. And one day it I would be a rider. The show eventually moved to a more suitable venue in town, with a proper ring. Thanks to my fabulous parents, I ended up owning a horse that I showed in this special home town horse show a few years later. His name was Believer's Ten and he was a bay Quarter horse gelding that we'd purchased from good friends, the Titcomb family. We bought Ten as a 3 yr. old and god bless him, he was a good boy. I practiced and practiced on that horse, between bareback trail rides and lessons, we grew as a team. In 1985 we won the Hampton Falls Volunteer Fire Department Local Pleasure Perpetual Trophy.  Wow! It was such a great day! I have pictures of me smiling on that horse's back, so filled with the love of riding, my horse, my family and the town that I grew up in.  It was such a wonderful day. I remember it like yesterday.  I feel so blessed that I grew up in a rural town, with parents who cared and such special traditions. They all meant the world to me when I was a kid ( and to this day!) and I know that's why I feel so strongly about the month of June.  Happy June to all!!!

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