There is a lot to like at the 4-H Fair again this year.

That's true every year but it seems to go by faster each time. It could have been the cooler weather, but the fair just somehow seemed really good this year.

One thing that helped was having the entertainment tent in the middle of the action. I wondered how it would work, having the entertainment inside a tent rather than on the portable stage. The musicians didn't seem to mind and it did put the entertainment closer to the action. People could grab something to eat and drink and just walk a few yards to see their favorite personality perform.

It always goes by so quickly! The staff and volunteers put so much effort into the fair and then before you know it, it's over.

I spent Saturday afternoon in the 1940s.

Not literally, but figuratively, of course.

I mowed part of my yard with an old-fashioned reel-type push mower I bought for $80, new, just a few years ago. It was made by a little company in a Central Indiana city - Shelbyville to be precise.

I have a riding mower that has been like Old Faithful for 13 years. It has been in the shop just once before this year. But it went down this summer when a wheel broke. I have been fighting that wheel for a year now and finally caved in and called the repairman. I have made numerous trips to the hardware store, buying all sizes of washers and pins to hold that front wheel in place but it needs more help than I can give it.

So, I got out the reel-type push mower and did some work on the front yard.

Why not spend a little more and get a power mower? Well, I'm cheap and never spend more than I have to spend. And, I like the sound the old reel-type mower makes. I remember when i was a kid the sound of a power mower was a novelty and loud and angry but the distinctive sound of a reel-type push mower seemed friendly. Besides, I still remember the photo of then-Sen. Birch Bayh in a hospital bed with his foot bandaged after he sliced his toes in a power mower accident. That photo, burned into my brain, is probably one reason I've never been injured while mowing. There is a third reason. I like the idea of not clogging the air with pollutants from burning fossil fuels when possible. Yes, I know I just said I have a riding mower, but our half-acre is a bit much for me to push with my little 18-inch cut reel-type mower. So, I recognize my own hypocrisy in using the rider but my old body just isn't up to all that exercise with my other responsibilities.

I justify it by my dad's example. When I was about 10 he got tired of push mowing our yard and bought a used power mower from Montgomery Ward. I couldn't see over the handle, but mom and dad let me use it sometimes. I guess children really do follow their parents' example more than their words.



Frank Phillips is the editor of The Paper of Montgomery County.