The county fair

The county fair was five dollars this year. Every year I ask myself why I’ve come but every year I go. Every year I see the cows and horses and pigs and ducks and goats and rabbits and chickens and sheep. Every year I see the brand new John Deere and Case tractors and combines as shiny as convertibles in the showroom. City kids gawking and laughing at the FFA and 4-H kids and the country kids making fun of the city kids. County extension services displays about the importance of the American farmer with pictures of healthy foods from the farm across from the stands selling fried pickles, fried cheese, fried Oreos and cotton candy and candy apples. Guys in white short sleeve shirts with old ties trying to sell replacement windows and basement waterproofing services and looking at their watches to see how much time is left to make their sales quota for the day. The Tilt-a-Whirl and Flying Scooters and Loop-o-Planes and girls in cowboy boots and guys wearing giveaway logo ball caps and tattoos all around. 350 pound men with 120 pound women and 350 pound women with 120 pound men walking along together proving that there’s a lid for every pot. The smell of the chickens and the cow barns and Italian sausage and diesel smoke. A grandstand full of screaming people welcoming this year’s feature attraction and a grandstand full of screaming people watching an angry John Deere tractor in the tractor pull. A midway where playing a game for two dollars gives you a chance to win a prize worth maybe a nickel and an old-fashioned freak show where the freaks are now described as strange and interesting people.

And before heading out of the gate I stop and get a paper plate stacked with hot elephant ears sprinkled with powdered sugar and hope that the warmth will carry me through the winter.

The county fair was five dollars this year. Every year I ask myself why I’ve come but every year I go.

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