It’s county fair time - bring on the monster trucks, funnel cakes, cloggers, a Ferris wheel, fireworks and forty breeds of roosters!
Since I was a small child, I’ve been fascinated by the county fair. There is mystery on the midway. Who are the people operating the games and rides? Where do they come from? Do they all sleep together under the carousel, as my cousin always claimed?
I never realized how much I needed a Guns n’ Roses mirror until they put one on a shelf and told me I could have it if I could just knock down three metal bottles with a softball.
After twenty-eight tries, I realized I could live without a Guns n’ Roses mirror.
I trust in the fair. How else could I willingly eat a sausage sandwich served by a total stranger from a trailer with New Jersey license plates? What’s in that weiner, Buddy? Is your name really Buddy? How new is that teardrop tattoo?
There are tractor pulls. People crash cars during the demolition derby. School busses are run at full speed into other school busses, sheer joy to someone like me – a kid who disliked the classroom. Lots of machinery meets its end. Following fair week, many junk yards in the county at full capacity.
However, the most dangerous aspect of the county fair, to me, has nothing to do with unidentifiable foods, crooked games of skill, shoddily constructed portable thrill rides or exploding diesel engines. It is, in fact, the act of walking through the livestock barns.
You see? We own this farm.
Inside the barns are examples of every species of creature answering the roll call on the Ark. They all seem lovable or majestic or tasty, depending on species and your particular mood that day.
The dangerous part comes when my wife or I realize that it might be interesting to raise goats, sheep, cattle or whatever that big thing is over there.
A visit to the fair can easily turn into a window-shopping excursion. We often have to talk each other down from the ledge, explaining aloud in a well-thought-out self-help tone how illogical it would be to own a draft horse, a flock of quail or a matched set of mules.
We’ve come dangerously close to owning goats.
It really doesn’t get much more dangerous than that, does it?
If, as in years past, I can return from this year’s county fair with all of my limbs, most of my taste buds, some of my money and no additional four-legged creatures, I shall consider it a victory.
Even if I don’t, I know it’s going to be fun.