Senior citizens had their day at the Carroll County 4-H Fair yesterday. They cheered at pig races, took in the exhibits and met old friends. A few even shared a tent with a hefty pair of oxen.
Corilla Hundertmark, 86, and her 73-year-old sister Lula Morrow wanted to borrow the shade from Homer and Albert, tawny oxen resting comfortably in a spacious pen. Seated beside "huge but gentle beasts," the "former farm girls" said they felt right at home.
"We have gone to fairs all our lives," said Hundertmark. "Our father played in a band and we would go with him to all the fairs.
"There were 11 of us and we would crawl into the old car with that big old tuba and go to the fair," said Morrow. "It was often the only time we got away from the farm."
For many seniors, the 103rd fair brought back memories of days spent milking cows, gathering eggs and feeding chickens. Many left with a new image: piglets racing on a hay-covered track.
"We don't bet on them. We just watch them run," said Hundertmark.
Bud and Nan Hyde left the races for the sheep barn. They recently sold their cattle and might restock their Linwood farm with gentler animals.
"I have had animals all my life and I miss them much," said Bud, 79.
"The fair might just be the right place to start," said his 73-year-old wife. "We could start with a half dozen. It would be more like playing than farming."
The seniors topped the day off with ice-cream sundaes and a lively sing-along.
Louis Redd wove jokes around familiar tunes. Members of his audience tapped their feet, joined in the lyrics and responded in kind to a ditty about a wife who "throws out everything I own. Now where am I gonna live when I get home?"
"In the car!" shouted Susie Brown.
"How many here ever threw out a husband?" Redd asked.
Ninety-year-old Beulah Belt had the room laughing when she hollered, "I did! My second one."
But romance was alive in the hall. Spike and Mary Sanders could not resist dancing to a ballad.
Belt quickly followed their lead and waltzed across the floor in the arms of 20-year-old Brendan Forsythe, a fair volunteer.
"You should enjoy everything," said Tom Thompson, 82. "If you don't, it's your own fault."