Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    Notes from a small town: fair

    Notes from a small town: the fair

    [As an attempt to explore various modes of writing, I will write about the life around me, taking a break from the overtly educational, religious or political.]

    Callie [all names are fictional:  people real] is visiting from California.  They say that growing up she just didn't fit into the small town life, always thinking she was destined for something greater.  So, living in a mid-scale suburb of LA, she makes the pilgrimage back home every year or so to visit her mom.  This year her visit coincided with the annual county fair.  It is a clash much fun to watch.

    The local county fair is, undoubtedly, a kissing cousin to all of the other summer fairs in the Midwest.  The locals trot out their prized cows, beets, and unfortunate fashion innovations for a week of oil-drenched Elephant Ears, hormone-driven midways and stomach-churning Zippers and Himalayas.  It was through this menagerie that found Lovely Wife, Pookie and myself making our way, stroller in tow last night.  Hearing the fairgrounds call since Sunday (night of the figure-eight derby), we walked the ten blocks to the fairgrounds heeding the call of the tractor pull, announcer blaring the total lengths.  

    We arrived during the amateur pulls, consisting of actual John Deers pulled from the field and, risking a blown gasket, hitch to the pulling trailer and set off in a cloud of piston and smoke to some measure of farm-fair glory.  Pookie was terribly interested, attracted by the noise hidden behind the eight foot fence.  She was tempted away, though by the horses and pigs.

    We saw Callie at the beer tent (small, brick building actually but still called a tent from its humble origins) buying the only thing she would at the fair: a Coke.  She would not eat the Cheese Fries, Funnel Cakes or Keilbasa on a stick.  Her sister, married into the local towing, service station and junk-yard royalty, was busing munching away.  Callie and her sister are a study in opposites: Callie is overly thin and on her third augmentation; sis more plump than thin.  Both have kids with widely different futures.  

    With the grandstand noise moving from restored tractors to Modified professionals, we moved through the animal barns (promising to ride the rides come Wednesday or "kids day"—armband all-you-can-ride prices a little cheaper then) we finally found 12 year old Mandy and her one year old show pig.  Mandy was having trouble moving the pig from the bathing area back into the little show pen.  Armed with a green board to protect her legs, she was pushing and pulling the squealing pig to no avail: pig wanted to sit.  Pig would sit.  Pig would scream like death while it did so.  Attracting a small crowd of non-pig-raising folk, Mandy's embarrassment grew as her dad proceeded to pull the pig's ears in order to move it along.  Pig screamed more and, if possible, louder.  A helper appeared and pulling on the tail to the point of walking the pig wheelbarrow, they moved Pig into the pen.  Squealing finally stopped, and Pig ate.  Mandy nervously observed that Pig would rather sit than just about anything as she stood there in wet jeans and a half-wet shirt.  

    Pookie woke up, later that night, dreaming about screaming pigs.  She wondered why the men had to pull the ears and tail.  She was convinced that there was a nicer way to move the pig.  The tractors, by this point, had finally pulled their last and were quiet.  

    Tomorrow is kid's day.  I wonder if Callie will ride the rides.

    Would you like me to read this to you? Listen

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