The County Fair

I’m not sure why I didn’t post this when I wrote it in July, but I just found it today – and it’s just as much fun to think about now as it was then.

Must be kind of a theme in life right now. It’s summer, and carnivals are everywhere. The local one here just wrapped up a week or two ago (I lose track of time), and tonight, part of the crew in Nolan’s book (A Cool Summer in Paradise) is attending one to celebrate the beginning of the summer tourist season in Casteloria.

It made me think of all the fairs I went to as a kid – and later as an adult taking my own kids. But two in particular stand out in my mind.

The first instance was a getting out of the house kind of thing. I’d picked my mother up and we headed for the midway. After enjoying a few hair-raising rides, we decided the french fries smelled too good to ignore, and so we went to stand in line.

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By the time it was our turn, they were getting low and put another basket down to cook. In the meantime, the guy filled a cup for my mom – with his bare hands. There was only enough to fill my cup half full, so I waited thinking, they’re hot. Hot enough to kill any germs his hands might have contaminated them with.

You know me and my germ thing by now. I was really giving myself a pep talk because those fries looked and smelled so good. It might have even worked, but for one little thing.

While waiting, the gentleman in question reached down the front of his damp white tee shirt, pulled out a paper towel, mopped the sweat from his face and tucked it back down in the shirt.

To this day I wish I’d asked for my money back, but I just stood there waiting for the fresh batch of fries, for him to finish filling my cup – with the same hand that had been in the shirt and holding the sweaty paper towel – and then as soon as I walked out of sight of the cart, I dumped it in the nearest trash bin. So did my mother, who may or may not have eaten a fry or two before we saw that they were served with a little something extra.

The second instance was the day my baby brother and I took a ride on the zipper.

Standing on my toes in the cage, I managed to slip lose my balance while we were spinning and started flopping back and forth, my head hitting the front and back of the car repeated. While my concerned concerned sibling was laughing like a lunatic, the only thing I could do was cushion the blows with my forearms, one in front of my head and the other behind.

Actually, there is one other time – involving the same brother. Another kid on a more open spinning ride threw up … about the same time my brother’s baseball cap blew off his head … landing very close to the mess below. We spent the rest of the ride trying to keep an eye on the hat, wondering if the wind was going to blow it the wrong direction. Fortunately for him, it did not. If it had, he’d have just walked away because this particular brother has a stomach just as weak as mine.

With all of the fun a person can have at a county fair, why is it that the memories like these are the ones we remember the most? I do know they’re the most fun to reminisce about.

What about you? Any unusual experiences at a county fair?

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