We thought it might get rained out. Ok, I thought it might get ripped up, torn apart, and we'd all be mauled by a tornado, but they thought it might rain.
So we met and packed ourselves into one car and drove to the fair Friday night. I checked in with weather.com on my phone throughout the evening, so that we would know when to find one of the cardboard sheds to huddle and hide in from the funnel clouds.
We started our evening on damp picnic benches, dining on various corn products: corn dogs, corn on the cob, popcorn, kettle corn. Oh who am I kidding, here's the truth: I ate two of those huge roasted corns trounced in butter. Yup, it was so good, and my face had a cherubic glow from the butter smearing all over my cheeks as I type-writered my way up and down the cob. It was good old Americana fun and just the fuel needed to send us out on an evening reminiscent of a simpler time.
I admit it, I'm usually too busy in life to take notice of the largest pumpkin, best pie, most beautiful Barbie, or most endearing rooster. It is shockingly difficult for me to stop my brain from running to all of my busy piles waiting to be tended. But Friday night, from 6-10, I shut down all productivity and wandered with no goal, other than "being" with friends. I think I started to unwind and relax a little when my eyes fell on the headless wedding cake...a large busted white dress cake with a pearl necklace (difficult, as there was no neck, either). That’s when I realized, “I’m at the fair and by golly it’s fun!”
Later, after Jodi had willingly snuggled a snake, and we had misplaced poor Jen (she was leaning up against a pole somewhere resting her injured ankle), Carla, the birthday girl (whom we were honoring that evening), began to engage the roosters in a rousing dance and sing-a-long. And that my friends is where I really dropped my last vestige of uptight. You just couldn’t help but surrender to the joy. The poor creatures were so relieved to have the distraction from the very loud death-drop carnival ride situated right outside their shed, that they all gave it their very best. And for me, well, Carla’s joy was the best part of the night. Sudden momma to two boys (under the age of 3) whom she has taken into her home and heart on a much more grand adventure than the fair, the purity in her laughter reminded me, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”. And the things that seemed awfully important two hours earlier were beginning to sit comfortably on the get-to-it-tomorrow shelf.
It’s been a tradition for the past several years. The sky almost always threatens to tornado up, and we’re always still good to go, although the caramel corn suffers on those hi humidity nights. This year, there were no white tigers, no men hopping on top of sky-scraper poles next to motorcycles in round-ball cages, and fewer freaks to view for only a dollar. But the corn products and the agro were still entertaining enough, and I won’t soon forget that cake.
As we walked down the hill to the car, someone said, “well, that’s the last time”. I guess the city is actually shutting down the fair grounds, and history will swallow up these simpler pleasures in her attic of memories. I turned for one last photo, and snapped a facile shot of the bright ferris wheel pausing, scaring the people in the top car swinging over the edge. Against a black sky, reigning over what was once a grand kingdom, it was a confectionary nimbus, the welcome sign hailing tired city people to an evening of ease. I waived, and said, “Bye-bye fair, forever.”
Hope you find a place to sit and rest this week, set aside the stuff, breathe because you want to feel the air in your lungs, and remember that God can be seen in the blessed simplicity.