Things I Learned At The Street Fair, 2015   7 comments

I returned to the Graham Street Fair after a 38 year absence. While I was in Missouri for a delightful weekend, I learned a few things….

  1. My biggest fear in returning to Graham after such a long absence was that I wouldn’t recognize anyone.
  2. I recognized some people. Honest.
  3. I didn’t recognize a LOT of people. Sorry.
  4. I grew up in the Graham Methodist Church. I haven’t been in that church since … 1972? It’s been a while. They have a new kitchen/fellowship room/annex. I’m not sure what they call it, but it’s handicap accessible, has a full kitchen, and seats … well, everybody. That’s how it seemed, anyway. Lovely place. We went to the church for a pot luck lunch that they offered, and we saw many, many people there. Met the new pastor. Ran into a lot of friends, family, classmates, families of classmates … friends. Fabulous time, all in all. Great lunch, before the parade. And since there’s no restaurant in town, this was the only sit-down meal option.
  5. Do they still ring the bell for Sunday morning services, even though it’s no longer in the steeple? I loved ringing that bell.
  6. The sanctuary got smaller. At least, it used to be a lot bigger in my mind. Like everything except my waistline, apparently.
  7. Vehicles in the parking lot for the church included 2 UTVs. Do people actually drive these around town? When did that become a thing?
  8. There’s a new business in town: Graham Feed & Seed. I’m told they employ as many as 18 or 20 people, in season. They had 4 trucks in the parade, I believe. That’s incredible, and speaks to new hope for employment in the area. And, they have a Facebook page, so I know they’re legit.
  9. Overheard, on health care: “After you’re 40, it’s all maintenance.”
  10. Brought my longest telephoto lens to shoot the parade. Didn’t need it, of course. I forgot that I could sit right on the parade route. And switch sides as needed. To shoot the parade photos, I used the shortest lens I own. I could have used a fisheye lens. I was close to the action. Thisclose.
  11. One of the kids’ entries into the parade included a cat that was to ride along in the owners’ kids’ vehicle. I’m told the cat took exception to being drafted into the parade, and took off for parts unknown before the parade began. I never heard if the cat was found.
  12. What happened to the marching band uniforms? No excuse for the look of the band. IMHO. But then, I’m old.
  13. I’m told that 50 kids are in the band this year, which is truly an incredible accomplishment. Congrats to the band teacher, whoever you are. You’ve clearly got it going on. But, if you’d like a consultation on uniforms….
  14. The Nodaway Holt Trojans of Graham/Maitland/Skidmore did not have enough students enrolled that wanted to play football to field a team this year. And, come to find out, neither did the South Holt Knights of Oregon. They decided to merge, and have created the SH/NH Spartans. The team is currently 1-1, come to find out.
  15. South Holt has embraced the concept, and has the Spartan logo incorporated into the header of their website. Nodaway Holt? Not so much. Mergers are difficult.
  16. The most fun in the parade, though, was when the Spartan cheerleaders launched a seemingly unprovoked water balloon attack on the Spartan football team (which had 28 members in the team photo that published in the Maryville Daily Forum, by the way). In any event, I took this bit of fun as a good sign that there was team spirit, in spite of the new 2-school merger. Further, I took the fact that the football team jumped off of a moving vehicle and ran away from the liquid assault without a single injury to be a good sign as well. Ah, youth.
  17. Kudos to the football players who marched with the marching band, and then circled back to get back into the parade on the Spartan football team float. Good for you.
  18. I’m told there are 102 students in the Graham high school building this year, down significantly from when I was in the class of ’74. This year’s senior class numbers 20 … my class, 41 years ago, was 36 as I recall. The school is shrinking.
  19. Graham’s population in 1970: 213. Population in 2010: 171. That’s a loss of 20%. The loss in the senior class from 1974 – 2015, though, was 44%. Young families have left town, clearly.
  20. There’s no way to feel good about the viability of Nodaway-Holt – and South Holt – in the long term. The population shrinkage – that I was a part of – indicates more school mergers are needed, I fear.
  21. Did anyone know why those young men were walking in the parade in faux Indian costumes? They are Boy Scouts, and represent the Tribe of Mic-O-Say. A little signage wouldn’t hurt…. And yours truly, Tom Tom Beater Twisted Grass, was surprised that costumes were not as intricate as I remembered.
  22. Graham has truly lost its center. All of the businesses on “Main Street” east of the hardware are gone. The post office building is condemned. Speck’s grocery store has fallen in. The A&A has trees growing up through the floor. There is no downtown.
  23. Since when are there vendors at the Street Fair? Made me feel like I was at … well, like at a Street Fair. In California, with Mrs. M’s Handmade. Just sayin’!
  24. I got to the Fire Station after the parade, hoping to see who won the blue ribbons for all of the arts, crafts & produce. Either I was late, and many of the entries has already been removed … or this is no longer the big deal that it was in the old bank building. SHOCKING. I wish I would have brought cutting boards to enter.
  25. Congrats to Kirby Hanson who won a Grand Prize for a sweet corn entry. As he said on Facebook, “Finally!”
  26. This little town of Graham, MO, population 171, had at least 500 people watching the parade, and then had … 200? … actually appearing in the parade.
  27. It was very nice having adult conversations with classmates – perhaps my first adult conversations with them, ever. I believe I saw 4 classmates. Great to catch up, Michelle, Susan, Becky & Teresa!
  28. Where was everybody else? I know others had to be here … somewhere. Sorry I missed you.
  29. Great to see my Shull family at the parade, and my Mowry family at our family reunion after the parade. Family is a wonderful thing.

So, what did I learn by going back to the Street Fair after being gone for so long?

There’s no place like home.


My Mother, Who Is Grand

Graham Street Fair Parade, 2015, Part 1

Graham Street Fair Parade, Part 2

Things I Learned At The Street Fair (3/25/2014)




Posted September 3, 2015 by henrymowry in Living Life

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7 responses to “Things I Learned At The Street Fair, 2015

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  1. …….And the Texas Flag is because………………………Missouri loves Texans?

  2. Great article! The corn looks awesome! I’m so glad you had a good time!

  3. I enjoyed reading your article. I would like to have your permission to publish it under the Graham Street Fair section of the current book that the community of Graham is working on. On the Banks of the Elkhorn – Volume 4. (Years 2000 to 2015) Previous volumes on the history of Graham were published by your mother being involved. The community of Graham enjoyed you coming back to see us. The old buildings along the parade route, will hopefully be removed by next year. Surprises are always welcome when a small town receives donations for new projects or hold money making activities for people to attend.

  4. Pingback: My Favorite Posts From 2015 |

  5. Pingback: My Favorite Posts From Year 4 |

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