I hate to admit this, but I really hate fair week. It started when my son was young. I couldn’t wait to take him to the fair to ride the little children’s rides and watch him eat his first cotton candy. I had taken my daughter many times and we had lots of fun then and even more fun when she was able to ride the bigger rides with me. So, what happened?
Well, first of all my son moves faster than the speed of light, so keeping track of him in fair crowds was a chore. Then as I was watching him ride the little train around and around I began to notice the mechanics of how the ride operated and how it was put together. Wow. All those nuts and bolts and they move it every 7 days. Does anybody ever safety check these things?
When he was old enough to ride the bigger rides with us, everything seemed to spin up high in the air. The Scrambler was gone, instead we had a gynormus Ferris Wheel that I had the misfortune of seeing erected. No one checked the bolts and now my son wanted to go to the top of this piece of rickety machinery. I don’t think so. We finally compromised by going to watch the tractor pulls and demolition derby.
Then his next step was to go with his uncle and cousins. Now you can say I knew better, but his uncle really wanted him to go with ‘the boys’ and they were still little, so they’d be on the little kiddie rides – right? Wrong. They got there, my son went one way, his uncle and the boys went the other. That was the first year we started bringing things home from the fair. This year it was a girlfriend. My son was 12. She was 16. Her name was “my girlfriend” because he couldn’t remember her real name. When I found out she had a job and how old she was I asked if she knew how old he was. “Nope. She didn’t ask and I didn’t tell her.” When I wouldn’t let them ‘date’ she got suspicious and asked why and then how old he was, so that was the end of that relationship. It never got off the phone. The next year he brought home a rabbit. I spent over $100 on rabbit stuff – and my sister’s Great Dane gave the rabbit a heart attack when he knocked the cage over trying to get to him. Since then it’s been stuffed animals that mostly end up with (age appropriate) girl friends.
Last year was the first year he was able to drive himself to the fair and it was a battle all week. Of course, if he could drive to the fair he could drive other places and who was going to make sure that he stayed at the fair? My husband wouldn’t let me follow him – although we did one night. We were there about 30 seconds before my phone rang. “Why are you here?”
“How do you know I am here?”
“I heard. Are you checking up on me?”
"No, we came to see the tractor pull.”
“Then why are you standing by the Ferris Wheel?”
“It’s the first thing inside the gate and where are you?”
“I’m at the tractor pull.”
“Then how do you know where I am?”
“My friends told me.”
That’s the trouble with living in a small town and going to a small town fair. Everyone knows you.
This year, he has a job and is working long hours that require him to get up at 5 and 6 am., so the fair has lost some of its charm. But last night he went with his girlfriend (he didn’t find this one at the fair). I spent the evening thinking about how my little boy had grown up and didn’t have much time for mom and dad anymore. He hasn’t even asked if we wanted to go with him this year. About all the little toys he’d won over the years and given to all those silly girls. And mostly about how next year I probably won’t even know if he’s even thinking about going to the fair.
It was starting to rain as I left my meeting at church and I wondered if they’d have to close the fair and if my son would come home or just stay there until the rain stopped. As I approached the driveway I saw his car turn in. I parked behind him and watched as his girlfriend jumped out of the car with a giant stuffed animal. “Look what he won for me!!” I looked over at my son who was grinning from ear to ear. “Look what I won for you, Mom!” He was hold two plastic bags full of water – and two fish.
Wonder how much aquariums cost?