Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
The fair has its own rituals, of which the carnival rides are small part
By PENELOPE GREEN
Published: August 1, 2012
THERE were 33 members of the Williams family and their friends bedding down in Cabin 14 at the Neshoba County Fair here last week (though that number waxed and waned as the days progressed). The oldest was 90, the youngest 17 months, and all four generations slept in one dormitory-like room built to hold as many as 41.
Double bunks were stacked three high, like ice trays; others were tucked under the eaves. Three air-conditioners banged away in the dark. Contemplating so much sleeping humanity (or imagining trying to sleep amid so many other people, and so many relatives), the mind reeled.
“I gave up a Manhattan co-op for this,” joked M. B. Williams, who in reality lives in Water Valley, near Oxford, Miss., a few hours away. Mr. Williams, 80, was christened Merrill Binford, but everyone calls him Snooky, even his son, Ben, 52. You might describe him as this family’s patriarch, except that he is more comfortable playing the role of jester-host than king. (Also, his older sister, Pat Stubbs, 90, might object.)