Ah, the smell of bull manure in the summertime.

I'm not talking about the political reporting in our newspaper from the campaign trail.

Strictly fair talk, as in the county fair.

Baseball has its Connie Mack World Series.

Swimming has its Western Zone Championships.

Rodeo has its National High School Championships.

But for those kids and adults who specialize in grooming barnyard animals, feeding and washing 'em, baking cookies, stitching quilts or being artistic with a pen, camera or brush, this is it.

It's the big show.

And I love it.

Having grown up myself chasing cattle, feeding a hog and selling eggs from our own chicken coop, this is a time of year I very much feel at home getting rid of this office attire and putting back on my Wrangler jeans, Stetson hat and dusty boots.

Our fair is a great one, and if you haven't made it there yet, you've got till Saturday.

If you happen to be there tonight, say from around 7 to 8:30 p.m. or so, I invite you to visit The Daily Times booth for a "meet the editor" night, meaning, please come out and meet yours truly. I'd love to shake hands with you.

I've done these type things before, and I've met all kinds of good folks.

A few rude ones, too, so if you come up on my back and see knives sticking out from it, you'll know someone else got me on that bad Crossword puzzle before you did. Others are quick to give me praise that almost always is better deserved by one of our many dedicated staffers, so I'm sure to take notes and pass along the kudos.


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Regardless of what's on your mind, please come say hello.

I'd love to shake your hand.

That's around 7 till 8:30 or so tonight.

I'll be wearing my Stetson.

***

Wow, speaking of hats, mine's certainly off to the many fine folks who put on quite the shindigs last week.

Jeff Bowman, who leads the city of Farmington's recreation and cultural staff, called the paper to tell us how much they appreciated what we did, and how they heard many good things about our coverage.

Well, thanks Jeff, but mister... you guys are the ones who outdid yourselves.

Everyone from Mayor Bill Standley, City Manager Mike Miller, Police Chief Jim Runnels, and anyone else sitting behind a busy desk with 10 ringing phones on it; on down to the people who took charge of the field, finding lifeguards and timekeepers, stocking the concession stands, putting up the tents, directing crazy traffic, or simply who met people with a smile: kudos to you all.

Most of you go unnamed, and hundreds of you are volunteers. Yet, that's the beauty of it that so many of our visitors will take home with them.

I asked the Connie Mack committee folks on the last night of the series to give me an estimate of overall crowd attendance. They quickly penciled up a figure of close to 82,000.

That may be a bit high, because I had them on the spot. But there can be little doubt that it was a good first guess based on the many big crowds for the night games.

Across the street, the swim folks were going crazy over the hospitality and news coverage they were getting for their swim meet. They couldn't get over how much Farmington rolled out the red carpet. Look for them to be seeking a return trip, which bodes well for local business.

I have a suggestion, especially since there are those here and there who still like to knock Farmington as an isolated place that has little to offer.

Given our growing reputation among those who actually take the time to visit here, and people quick to remind us of the things we have that are nicer than what they left behind, maybe we should make one big change. It could help us with our image, too.

Let's just change the name of the city to reflect some of that newfound charm.

From Farmington to Charmington.

Just a thought. You get the point.

***

One of the things I love most about attending the aforementioned events is indeed the conversation.

For example, I was sitting behind one family at Connie Mack and couldn't help but hear their conversation with friends. They, sadly, had just gone through the ordeal of a family funeral.

However, the woman speaking said she did find one bit of humor in it that brought her a smile.

While picking out the casket, she noticed a tag on one of them.

"I never knew a casket could come with a 10-year warranty," she said, and smiled, wondering about who in 10 years would check it for confirmation.

I also had to smile with one of the volunteers who had just come off his shift in the concession stand, helping one of the many nonprofit groups who attended to such duties.

"My Gosh, I never in my life knew there were so many people in this town who could show up at one place to buy a Coke and a candy bar," he wearily said.

We may have our share of problems in this community.

We most certainly, however, have our share of blessings.

Thanks to everyone who is working so hard for so little credit. It means much.

Meanwhile, don't forget to say howdy if you're at the fair tonight.

See ya there.

Troy Turner is the editor of The Daily Times. He can be contacted at P.O. Box 450, Farmington, N.M., 87499; or at tturner@daily-times.com.