Monday, March 10, 2008

Don't run from your roots

Yesterday we went on a raod trip of sorts. Sure, it wasn't to see an enormous ball of twine of Austin, MN's famed SPAM Museum but it was to see a sort of mecca for me.

Yes, we drove way the fuck out to Hutchinson, Minnesota to visit the McLeod County Fairgrounds. Now you may be wondering just why we would drive all that distance on a perfectly fine Sunday afternoon in the dead of March to visit a county fairgrounds in the middle of nowhere while the grounds are still covered with piles of snow.

The reason was toys. More specifically, Ertl brand toys.

It turns out that I had noticed a small advertisement last week about a farm toy show and being that we had the time we also made the drive.

As a bit of background for those of you who don't already know, I grew up on an actual working farm just a handful of miles from the very SPAM Museum I mentioned. Being that I was a true-blue farm boy, my parents instilled in me the fact that the best toys were farm toys. My dad bought them at area farm equipment dealers for me, my mom placed requests for them on my Christmas list and some of my hard-earned money was spent at a local -- get this -- farm toy store in, of all places, Iowa (it worked because we lived about 8 miles from Iowa).

As I got a bit older, my dad reluctantly took me on a few cold winter weekends to some farm toy shows. They were held within easy driving distance at county fairground arenas and hotel conference centers and for this farm kid, it was heaven.

Yesterday was no different. I wandered up and down the aisles of the rather busy fairgrounds arena in Hutchinson as the missus followed behind -- indulging what seemed to her an odd way to spend a Sunday. To me it seemed perfectly normal. The only thing that was out of the norm was the fact that I did not spend one single dime. I perused large collections, pricing things I knew I still had squrreled away at my parents' house and drooled over how the new toys are so much more detailed and intricate than those of days past. I jokingly asked for a couple thousand dollars to fill out the missing years in my collection as we left the arena and stopped for snacks at the nearest Casey's General Store.

This marked the end of our Sunday trek. I embraced my roots and as I scanned the radio, it stopped on a radio station playing some polka music. It was time for the wife to embrace her roots.

It made me wonder how many more closeted farm toy collectors there are in the world. Do they read this blog? What are some of the hobbies of the readers here? Did I see any of you in Hutchinson this weekend?


Michelle Ann said...

City girl here...I had no idea there was such a thing as farm toys. For me, the whole farm would be a toy....

VE said...

Nope, I'm a city guy. But I do have the largest collection of crayon boxes in the world. Not kidding. I have over 3000; some going back to the 1800s. I have more historic Crayola boxes than the company does. They have consulted with me on their own history too...

Worker Mommy said...

When I was little I had a miniature play farm with cows that you could actually milk. I frickin' loved that toy. Does that count ? ...Or nope not even close ;)

On another note:
I'm pretty sure I need to get to that Spam museum. With the quickness.
I didn't know it existed but now that I do I will not rest until I go.

Balou said...

I like your farm boy stories.

I have a collection of rocks. I don't know what kind they are, but I put them in bowls and jars around the house. Many were picked up in nature during trips and I can remember where I got many of them. Free souvenirs.

Sornie said...

Crazy story about the Crayola boxes.

The rocks sound eerily like my mom's seashell collection.

As for the SPAM museum, don't waste your time unless you care how pork is chopped.

Michelle, repeat after me, a farm is not a toy -- especially when large chunks of steel land on one's back causing severe bruising.

H said...

I had my fair share of farm toys when I was younger. I'm sure my grandparents still have them. I had a Case combine and John Deere tractors - just like we had on the real farm - and I would always bring corn and soybeans in from outside to further add to the effect. I hadn't thought about farm toys for years. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!