Fair memories and a little common courtesy

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By John Whitlock

When I was a young boy, one of my most treasured possessions was my stuffed frog.

I remember stalking around the Harrison County Fair – probably sometime around 1971 or 1972 – with my older sister, looking atone of those games where you toss a dart at a balloon and the tag behind it tells you what you won.

It was always my favorite game at the county fair. Boys seem to have an innate love of things that go “POP.”

That night I had collected my fair share of Chinese finger traps, slide whistles and thin plastic yo-yos that tended to “yo” but rarely “yo-yo”ed.

But my focus was always on the bigger prizes.

After finding my favorite game, I probably gave the worker a quarter and he probably handed me three darts.

I’m not sure if I won that frog on the first dart, the third dart or the 15th. All I can remember is picking him off the left side of the wall.

I took him home and named him Hop Sing. (You might want to consult the “Bonanza” trivia sites to get that reference.)

Today, all these years later, Hop Sing still has a place in my memory and in my heart. I still find that old friend in the closet of my old bedroom at my mom’s house.

That night at the county fair created a lifetime of memories for me.

If you think back, you probably have a few great memories of the county fair too.

This week, the Owen County Fair is in full swing.

So grab the kids and help them make some memories.

If you have looked at this year’s fair book, you can see there are plenty of activities every night. The organizers of this year’s fair have outdone themselves and should be congratulated for an outstanding effort.


 Tuesday night, the Cincinnati Reds finally returned to prominence in the sports world.

Four members of the current team – Scott Rolen, Arthur Rhodes, Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto – have been named to this year’s Major League Baseball All-Star Team.

For a guy who started following baseball with the Big Red Machine in the 1970s and has watched year after year as only one token Reds player was named to the All-Star teams, this is a happy day.

The Reds are currently in first place in the National League Central Division, holding off the hated Saint Louis Cardinals by a few games.

It would be great to see the Reds once again return to post-season glory.

Here’s hoping for a Red October.


For those who may not know it, my wife Kellee is about seven and half months pregnant.

Earlier this week, she was walking through a parking lot in Lexington, making her way to a department store.

Suddenly, she tripped and flew to the ground. She managed to catch herself on the side of a parked car.  Other than twisting her ankle, she and the baby were fine.

Her purse’s contents slipped out all over the ground. Her car keys slid under a pick-up truck, way out of her reach.

Being that far along, it’s hard for her to get up.

She told me that as she struggled to collect her belongings and raise herself up, no less than 10 people simply walked on by without offering to lend a hand or even retrieve her keys.

After a couple of minutes, the lady who owned the truck came back and backed out of the space so Kellee could get her keys. The lady didn’t offer to get them for Kellee.

Maybe I’m too old and give the world too much credit, but I cannot imagine this happening in Owenton. Has the rest of the world changed so much that people won’t stop and help a pregnant lady get up after she’s fallen?

Now, if it was me who had fallen, I could understand people’s hesitation to help. They might figure I was laying there with a pipe under me getting ready to rob them.

But a seven and a half month pregnant lady doesn’t seem to be too much of a threat to anyone.

I was so angry when she told me. I wanted to go back and ask those people who calmly walked past if their mama didn’t raise them better than that.

The incident reminded me that a lot of the old courtesies we enjoyed in past years are gone. I have to remind my nephew to open a door for a lady. My daughter has an unfortunate habit of  answering texts when we are in the middle of a conversation.

So I will use this episode to remind them that each and every person deserves a little common courtesy, a little hand up from time to time.