By John Matonich
I remember in about 1985 or so, my company was building a new fairgrounds for an agricultural society in a neighboring county. It was a very beautiful site with some nice roll and wide open spaces. The folks we were working for were part of the hard-working farming community and they had dreamt a long time of a large new fairground.
I really enjoyed working with these good folks not only because I learned a lot about farming, but the meals served while we were under construction were some that to this day can’t be beat. It was a great experience all the way around.
Our biggest obstacle on this site was that while it was a great piece of ground, it didn’t have a single amenity that was necessary to hold a quality fair. It had no roads, parking, water, sewer or buildings of any type. There was some power at the main road, but that too had to be run throughout the property in anticipation of serving future events.
Everyone involved knew we were starting from scratch, but as you would expect these hard-working folks weren’t going to let this lack of things stop them from building the fair site they longed for. Not only were we lacking some of the necessities, the organization was far from flush with money, so much of the work was done by volunteers and everything was planned to keep the costs as reasonable as possible.
I was proud to be a part of this project and today after many years of plugging away, I think it is one of the best fair grounds in the state. I guess I am a little prejudice, but given the hours I spent on that site while it was under development, I think I can be. Much of my time was donated and it made me even prouder of the results.
This project comes to mind from time to time as it taught me a lot about taking things for granted. There are certainly many things in our lives we can easily just assume they will be there, but many don’t have that luxury.
I remember a friend of mine who lives in Hawaii telling me about the 177-day longshoreman strike. I didn’t realize it, but just about everything that exists on the islands comes from somewhere else. He said that although they had to go without a lot of things, it was a lack of toilet paper that bothered folks the most.
I never thought about not having access to toilet paper and how difficult that would be. A little stash at home is easy to maintain, but even those of us that spend a lot of time in the woods know where to keep some extra so it is accessible there as well. I find myself thinking about how easy we can take that little roll for granted, but how miserable it would be if you sat down in the morning only to find out none was around. I hope that doesn’t happen to me anytime soon. It isn’t easy these days to find a non-glossy paged catalog.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …