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I profess not to be any great writer.

These are the ponderings

of a poor man's mind.

  • Nate Barker

“…and a plastic vegetable will lead them.”

Updated: May 2

originally written in 2010

The Fair. Yes it must be with a capital “F”. The yearly ritual of bodies crushed together in a confined space. The noises of squeaky carnival rides mixing with the mooing of cows and the sizzle of Polish sausages. Young boys trying hard to impress too young girls. Older couples slowly plodding trying to remember why they decided to come out into the “noise”. And the young family, pushing one child in a stroller, while another pulls them towards the merry-go-round, and still another spills grape soda all over their ketchup stained shirt. Ahhh….the Fair!

Different emotions take their turn running through the combined consciousness of the Fair goers. From nostalgia to annoyance, depression to exhilaration - the palatable energy is what makes the Ferris wheel turn and the barkers continue to chain smoke as they steal your hard earned cash.

Through this harvest-land of senses I wandered with my family. Like nomads we searched for the next bench to rest our tired caravan on and be entertained by the sights and sounds.

And in the midst of all this festival of emotional overload who would have foreseen what we would experience in a small quiet corner of this ruckus. An island of peace, with smiling faces, light hearted tunes, merriment and frivolity – not in any contrived sort of fashion…but genuine and from the heart. A place of purpose in a sea of selfish gluttony. A calling to look beyond one’s self and into the broader world. A quiet anthem of hope in the cacophony.

We had found “Melody Farms”.

Melody Farms circa 2010

Up by the taffy cart, tucked in-between the playground and the pavilion was a small red trailer with a canopy. Light, friendly music could be heard and from under the canopy, diligently doing their part to spread peace, love, and joy were an array of mechanical plastic vegetables, fruit and barnyard animals. Their mouths opening and closing with the sounds of angelic voices. Their arms moving fluidly as their torsos twisted left and right. Eyes blinking…now staring…almost alive…looking into our very souls.

We sat on the provided bleachers, called in by the sirens, listening to their melodic tale. Their message…one that all of us must listen to, ponder, and decide our own fate concerning….


Like soft waves on the beach came this message of hope and peace.

“If each of us would just do our part”, crooned the broccoli dressed like a 70’s disco star, “this world would be a cleaner place.”

“It’s up to you to be the change you want to see,” prophetically clucked the chicken.

“Nobody wants a dirty planet!” said Mr. Pineapple.

I must say we sat transfixed, not realizing how we would be impacted by this powerful message. Could it be true? Could each of us posses the power within to place that milk jug in the recycling bin instead of the regular trash? Could the simple act of soda bottles being shredded and down-cycled into another form of plastic helpfulness save the world? These plastic veggies told us in a resounding auto-harmonic tone, “Yes!”

Like all prophets, these messengers of hope quickly disappeared after their message was delivered. The curtain fell on their stage and the lights went dim. We had so many unanswered questions, so much more we wanted to know.

“What about those pesky #6 and #7’s?” I wanted to scream. “Where can I recycle packing foam?”

“Can you scold people who throw plastic cups and silverware in the regular trash?!?”

There was no chance to ask. We were left with our burning questions as the stage sat silently before us.

But then it came to me. An epiphany. These questions were ours to wrestle with. We as a society had to continue to ponder and decide what we would do with our paper, glass, plastic, tin, and aluminum. These messengers of hope were only here to prick our collective consciousness…and what better place to do so than at the Fair.

As we wandered away from Melody Farms and back into the carnival music, food stalls, and 4-H exhibits I had a fleeting thought that gave me pause.

“When a plastic vegetable, that sings about recycling, finally breaks and is no longer useful in proclaiming the message of world transformation…is it recycled?”

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