By Richard Rampello
I feel I can finally assert I traveled the world, or at least a “Little World.” A blast from childhood came screaming back to me while researching the Finger Lakes Region, as I am wont to do. I enjoy having culture wash over me because to wonder and question is to learn.
Yet this was a good memory, that of the Hemlock “Little World” Fair. My sister and I went with my mom and dad to the fair as kids many times, mostly for the tractor pulls. They just occurred July 22, and although I didn’t go, things have changed. It is not just antique tractor pulls any longer, for starters.
Now there are monster truck pulls and pro tuff with times you can follow on the fair’s website. We use to show up and ask when events would kick off. My parents often people watched. It went beyond us, with an aunt and uncle sometimes tagging along. Even my uncle from Florida, who now resides in Georgia, came up and participated in our sojourn from just outside Geneseo.
Hay covered the major wet spots in an often muddy parking lot. And while rain and mud could throw a monkey wrench in our plans, those puffs of dust from the ear-splitting decibel producing lunges were a quick reminder of why we went. So many mementos in my mind escape me, but it impresses me that these drag races continue.
These are not just reminders of what appears to be a pristine family but it is a statement on our social status as a family. I can go online, see times and events and show up. Maybe the parking situation has changed? Certainly, the communication has because I do not remember one of us having a cell phone, and I am not that “old.”
Our lives transpose to other events taking over, building on the simplicity of our past to create the complexity of our future, much the way the Mammalian brain lies atop the Reptilian. It is more difficult than that, is the science, but the point remains the same. That sameness is really an idea of connectedness with those that mean the most.
Yes, those closest to us change, we as humans mature in myriad ways, but ultimately who we seek to be does not. The Finger Lakes has helped shape me, as I went to a SUNY school long after we stopped going to the fair. My education there prompted a book on our current status of education in New York with suggestions of how to improve it.
And to think it started in a dirt parking lot, where from the depths I have continued to rise. So, too, can you.