Alyce Faye BraggThe Full Harvest Moon shines in golden splendor as the first day of autumn fades away into the night shadows. Summer weather is still hanging on, but these cooler nights are a blessing. Thick white mist shrouds Pilot Knob at morning, but the rising sun burns away the mist to reveal cloudless, blue skies.

Ragged wild sunflowers hang over the creek bank and invade the meadows, and the golden coreopsis spreads its wealth along the roadsides and in the ditch lines. Autumn is a golden time, as the leaves gradually turn to burnished gold and the days grow mild and mellow.

The Harvest Moon generally brings an end to the harvesting season, as the golden pumpkins, gourds, melons and corn are gathered and put away. The hard summer’s work is over, and the time had come for autumn activities.

Along with the play parties that sprung up at this time, another anticipated event was the County Fair. It was the highlight of the fall season, and country children waited anxiously for it. All summer long, we saved pennies and any extra money (which wasn’t much!) that we received.

What a sight to behold when we got the first glimpse of the dazzling lights of the County Fair!  Today’s children, who have been exposed to worldwide wonders on television, as well as attending performances at the leading circuses, would scoff at the county fairs of the past. To us, however, it was a mind-boggling affair and bedazzled our eyes.

The loud music vibrated, loudspeakers boomed out the wonders of the sideshows, and twinkling lights lit up the rides and atmosphere. It was enough to thrill the hearts of each child. People milled about constantly, greeting friends and neighbors, and calling to one another.

“Come in, come in,” a hawker would call loudly. “Come in and see the big snake—bigger than a telephone pole!” Then sotto voice, “Well, bigger than a small telephone pole!” Cheap glassware and stuffed animals lined the stalls, yours for tossing pennies into small saucers. There was a shooting gallery where a person could aim at ducks in a row. There were plenty of gimmicks to take a child’s money.

There were food booths also, where you could purchase hotdogs and “pop”—not soft drinks. We loved the cotton candy, huge swirls of spun sugar in different colors, wrapped around a paper cone. It was so pretty, and melted away to nothing in your mouth.

The rides were scary but thrilling. The swings were for the little ones, plus the merry-go-around with the marching animals. Almost everyone rode the Ferris wheel, from young to old. There was a ride call the “tubs” or octopus which looked fairly innocent. I talked mom into riding it with me when I was a teenager.

The whole thing swooped around at angles, and each individual tub rotated independently. I had never been so scared in my life. I looked at Mom, and she had turned gray. I was afraid she was going to faint, and when we got off, she could barely stand up.

She told me then that she was praying through the entire ride. “I told the Lord that if He would get me down safely, I’d never get on another one of these things!” As far as I know she didn’t, but then neither did I.

The County Fair was a big deal. In the green 4-H building, there were many exhibits of vegetables, canned goods, needlecraft and other things. Blue ribbons were given to first place winners, and red ribbons for the second place. It was fun to browse through the picture-perfect fruits and vegetables, and see who had won.

That was one of the thrills of a long-ago childhood when times were simpler and it didn’t take as much to excite a child.

We received several responses for the lyrics to “Faith, Hope, and Charity.” The first came from my cousin Phyllis Samples of Procious who sang it over the phone for me. “Do you not remember that?” she asked. I remember singing it in youth service many years ago, but couldn’t remember all the words.

Jack Dunlap of St. Albans remembers a Saturday morning TV show with his son Kenny, who was about four, starring Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. They sang that song in the days when TV was clean and wholesome. We heard from Gordon Parker of Elkview, Connie Ashley of Clendenin and Macel Shaffer of Charleston.

Ellyn Dawn McLaughlin e-mailed from Virginia, Joanne Exline from Maysel, Marion Williams of St. Albans and Nancy Brallier wrote from Charleston. Here is the song.


Written by Don Cornell and sung by Dale Evans

Have faith, hope and charity,

That’s the way to live successfully.

How do I know?

The Bible tells me so.

Do good to your enemies,

And the Blessed Lord you’ll surely please.

How do I know?

The Bible tells me so.

Don’t worry about tomorrow,

Just be real good today.

The Lord is right beside you,

He’ll guide you all the way.

So have faith, hope and charity,

That’s the way to live successfully.

How do I know?

The Bible tells me so.

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Alyce Faye Bragg

She writes the "News From the Hills" column. Born and raised in the country, and still lives on the same farm where she was raised. Has a sincere love for nature and the beauty of the hills. Began writing in 1981 & currently has three books published. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer