A Poem for Fancy Table Settings
Many fairs across the USA have a table setting competition which may be tied to the theme of the fair, holidays, celebrations or other events.
Contestants may be required to provide a suitable menu, a centerpiece, and place settings for one to four people.
The requirements are varied, but the competition is always fiercely friendly.
A Doggerel Ode to County Fair Table-Setting Contests
Everything's perfect and looking just great.
Don't shock your dear guests with a mere paper plate.
We're setting the table with infinite care,
To win a blue ribbon at our county fair.
Observing a season, or Christmas, or more,
a birthday, a love feast, for one you adore,
The colors do coordinate, the flowers match the platters.
Decorations scream the theme to show what really matters.
Placing each piece to make an impression,
That pleases the judges or feeds an obsession
with pressed table linens and candles alight,
it all comes together-- all perfectly right.
You've mastered the art of laying a fork beside proper plates, for fish or for pork.
With special utensils for each special task which one we're to use, we never will ask.
Lost in the rush of modern days,
Our day-to-day tables in so many ways,
Resemble these samples , down to the letter.
Do not tell the judges our home ones are better.
They might come around and discover our fake out,
and greasy old cartons from Pop's Pizza takeout.
Careful position of each cup and tumbler, is vexing indeed for the everyday bumbler.
Glimmering crystal or faceted glasses reflect the ideals of the elegant classes,
Who dined with all their matching dishes on truffles and roast and various fishes.
It brings up thoughts within our minds of sumptuous meals, of various kinds
When royalty, dressed in rare jewels and sables, had elegant servants to set their grand tables.
They came down to dine with crowns on their heads while the elegant servants turned down their beds.
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--Photos by R. Frank, Mariposa County Fair, 2010