Helen York

Yarn Wagon at Common Ground Country Fair
Aunt Rhodie’s Yarn Wagon at Common Ground Country Fair. Photo Courtesy of Helen York.

Here’s a memory from Helen York:

“Years ago, when we had over a hundred wool sheep, and when I had the skills and speed and stamina to handspin much of the wool we grew into yarn, we would sell our yarn and fleeces and spinning equipment from an old arch-top converted 1930s french-fry trailer. It was a picturesque thing with a bright fresco of sun, moon and stars and side flaps that opened up revealing all the brightly colored yarns. But it always seemed to have trouble getting to the fairs on time! We had flat tires. We had the side flaps come loose one time driving through a tunnel in a busy city and start flapping like a bird! One time on our way to a fair way out of state, we had the whole roof fly off while we were crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge! There was always something!

So anyway, it was the first year of the Common Ground Country Fair at its new grounds in Unity and – as usual –we had problems getting to the Fair the night before it opened. We had to change a tire. We needed gas and the roof of the trailer was too tall to fit under the roof at the gas station. And we had trouble finding the fairgrounds. So we arrived well after dark, and that year the Fair had few if any lights on the newly laid-out fairgrounds. It was DARK. We had an assigned space, somewhere on a circular access road, but it was too dark to read the little signs that said what spot was what. We drove around and around the circle and finally gave up and just pulled over to catch some sleep, hoping to get in place early in the morning, and try to get set up before all the fair-goers started arriving.
A few hours later I opened my eyes and thought it must be dawn, it was so bright. But it was not the dawn. It was the aurora borealis, flickering a beautiful benediction on the new fairgrounds, so bright we could read the booth signs. By its light, we found our space. By its light, we got Aunt Rhodie’s yarn wagon mostly set up. By its light, we rested, knowing all would be well in the morning. And it was. I will always remember that glowing sky – a magical way to begin a new era for MOFGA’s Fair.”

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