A day at farm/fair is memorable for some of us | Latte Guy | Sept. 30

Have you ever noticed that some human activities are only ever described using one word or phrase?

For example, in figure skating, a jump accompanied by three turns in the air is called a triple axel. In opera, a diva’s emotional solo is called an aria. In ballet, a spinning turn is called a pirouette.

In each case, no other word or phase is ever used to describe that particular activity.

On the other hand, in other less elegant areas of human activity, the opposite is often true. Take the all-too-familiar act of throwing up.

Without looking in a thesaurus or asking a college freshman, I can easily come up with at least a dozen words or phrases that describe exactly that same activity: spew, ralph, heave, hurl, hork, chum, boot, barf, blow chunks, toss cookies, yak, gak, chunder and yodel in the thunder mug).

I could do the same thing for many other human activities, such as going to the bathroom or making love, and I bet you could too.

I started thinking about this phenomenon last weekend when the woman who is my wife, and I were visiting the livestock barn at the Puyallup Fair.

We had gone to the Puyallup Fair partly to see the animals but also to check out the state-of-the -art deep-fried foods on a stick. We were not disappointed.

At a charming little stand called Totally Fried located near one of the six or seven different places at the fair selling spas and wood stoves, we were offered a choice of deep fried Twinkies, Snickers bars, Oreos, Kool-Aid, macaroni and cheese, frogs’ legs, Rocky Mountain Oysters, ice cream, butter and my personal favorite, deep fried chocolate-covered Bacon.

Ten years ago, I’d have ordered one of each. This year, we passed on all of them, which may be a step forward in my evolution as an adult.

Besides not eating fried food and not purchasing a hot tub or a wood stove, we saw a lot of animals and almost as many teenage 4-H volunteers.

Who knew there were so many varieties of horses, goats and sheep, not to mention poultry, rabbits and Guinea pigs, which, it turns out interestingly enough, are neither pigs nor from Guinea.

When you get so many large animals in so many small stalls, it is inevitable that one of them will have to relieve him or herself in your presence.

No matter how many times you may see it up close, it is still a memorable sight to have, say, a large horse relieve itself in the immediate vicinity of your shoes.

The two words that come immediately to my mind to describe the experience are “emphatic” and ‘copious,” and it’s just that event that started me thinking about today’s topic.

Fortunately for us and our appetites, Friday was sheep and goat day at the fair rather than cattle day, so we were spared the possibility of witnessing a spontaneous bovine floor show.

We returned safely from the fair in time to enjoy another farm setting at the Harvest Fair at Johnson Farm last Sunday afternoon.

Among the many things the Harvest Fair had in common with the Puyallup Fair were good food, good music, colorful livestock, and lots of happy people.

The other thing both events had in common is the fact that neither of them could occur without the help of legions of volunteers.

You may have noticed that virtually everything on the island worth seeing or doing occurs only with the involvement of numerous hard-working volunteers giving up their weekends, evenings and previously free time for causes they believe in and support and want to share with their island friends and neighbors.

So if you’ve volunteered for any activity on the island this past year, take a little bow and know that your hard work is recognized and very much appreciated.

And if you happen to have an idea about something unusual and unhealthy that you could deep fry and serve on a stick, there may be a career waiting for you in Puyallup.

Just watch where you step when you’re near the barn area, and don’t blow all your earnings on a wood burning hot tub or a wood stove with adjustable jets and a floating cocktail table.

Save it for something important, like dry-cleaning your shoes.

Tom Tyner is an attorney for the Trust for Public Land. He is author of “Skeletons From Our Closet,” a collection of writings on the island’s latte scene.

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