A House Full of (War Eagle) Memories
For some, dusting is a chore. For me, it's a trip down memory lane.
My house is filled with beautiful creations from the hands of decades of War Eagle Fair exhibitors. Some of these pieces were gifts. I purchased some of them. Some of them have been passed down to me from family members.
This summer, I will turn 35. I have spent my entire life at and around the War Eagle Fair. From before I was born until midway through my twenties, the Ozark Arts and Crafts Fair Association (the non-profit organization that runs the Fair) sponsored three events each year: an arts and crafts fair in the spring and the fall, and a teaching seminar in the summer.
There are many stories of me at these events throughout the years. I was tiny (maybe two or three) when I brought the Seminar to a screeching halt because I had "gone missing." Turns out, I had actually gone with one of the seminar students to check the beans she had cooking in the cabin that she was renting. I promised I had told my Granny Shirley, but she hadn't heard me. On the second Monday of the Seminar in 1985, I proudly announced the birth of my little sister, Katie. I don't remember a year during my childhood when I didn't act as the official War Eagle Seminar mail girl. For two weeks, I sorted and delivered any mail that landed in Granny and Papa's mailbox for the visiting students and instructors. I also made sure the geese were well fed on a diet of potato chips and crackers. (Papa was never thrilled about that.)
As I grew from a small child into my pre-teen and teen years, my time around the Fair involved more and more work. My sister and I have suffered too many times to count from a Fair work induced condition which we like to call "sticky fingers." This condition is known to come on after many hours of peeling labels and sticking them to the many pieces of paper needed to make the Fair run smoothly. My first paying job was in the funnel cake stand at the Fall Fair when I was in 6th or 7th grade. I worked in the stand for a couple of years. I wasn't always excited about being covered in powdered sugar or about the bees that were always attracted to the sugar on the funnel cakes and in the hand-squeezed lemonade, but I loved the unlimited funnel cakes and $5/hour that I received as pay.
The people of the Fair and the Seminar have been a huge part of my life. There are many that I've known for most of my life. They have treated me like one of their own children or grandchildren. They brought me treats, birthday presents, and graduation presents. When I got married in June of 2001, it was during the Seminar, partially so that people who meant a lot to me could be there to see it. They hosted a shower for my future husband and me. When our children were born in the following years, these beautiful people spoiled the babies with sweet, handmade gifts. During the years that I couldn't make it home for the Fair due to my husband's military obligations, they called me and send me sweet cards. They've comforted my family and me through the loss of my grandparents.
Each time I dust, or even simply walk through the rooms of my house, I am reminded of all the people who have made the War Eagle Fair and my life wonderful. I treasure these items because I know the amazing individuals who poured their souls into creating them. I encourage you to take time during your visits to the Fair to speak with our exhibitors. Get to know them. They are amazing and knowing them will change your life. I know because it happened to me.
Notes on the pictures, from top to bottom and left to right:
1. Pink Bird of Hope by Terra Studios, Chainsaw carved owl by Travis Koester, Barn tin Razorback ornament by FITZ Fabrications
2. Coffee sign by ??, Pottery coffee mug by Jim & Sarah Young
3. Fabric boa by SewSoWinLove, Sign by Summer Snow
4. Bird of paradise painting by Kent Curole, Stone art animals by American Stone Art, Barn tin Arkansas ornament by FITZ Fabrications
5. "Dumb Duck" by Bob Munroe
6. Basket by Bob and Mildred Gulledge
7. Table and chairs by ??, Lazy susan and napkin holder by ??
8. HOME sign by FITZ Fabrications, wooden bench by Got An Idea Primitives, River photograph by Edward Robison
(Please forgive that I cannot remember some of the names. Some of these items are not signed and the names of their creators have escaped me.)