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And so ends another fair week

August 23, 2009 - Jennifer Brookens
I experience a mix of feelings at fair time; some whimsy of the carnival atmosphere, and as I get older there is more guilt for indulging in all the sugary and deep-fried fair foods, and anxiety of how many ATM withdrawls I've made to pay for our fair time.

But as the kids get older, it becomes more of a battle of wills. It all came to a head Sunday afternoon. The responsibilities of my job and my husband's job involving the fair were out of the way and it was time for our family bonding day. The day before was the designated "ride day" for our 5-going-on-11-year-old, but that didn't keep her from pouting, moaning, and constantly dropping hints on how badly she wanted to go down the big slide.

"You used up all your tickets yesterday," we said over and over. "Besides, you're still a little short of being able to go down by yourself." To ease the pity party, we tried going to all the animal barns; she groaned and moaned. We threaten to go home. Then she's willing to try the petting zoo. We spend a dollar on a chopped-up carrot so she can feed the animals. She insists she can hold the bag herself. A few minutes later she drops it and a greedy deer snaps it up and eats the plastic bag and all. She cried. We let her participate in the kiddie money grab (all those pennies are probably worth a dollar, right?) We get stickers and other freebies from the display booths, but she still is insisting on the slide. Daddy finally relents - if I go down with her.

So we get enough tickets for both of us to take one trek down the slide. She races me up there, she jumps on the slide, and I have to adjust the burlap sack around her. As I try to jump on, the sack slips and down she goes. And I'm still sitting on the top of the slide. At the bottom, she turns around with a triumphant grin on her face. I weakly smile back, wondering the best way for me to get down (with no sack and wearing shorts, I risk some serious friction burns on my legs.) Bottom line, I spent a couple bucks to walk up and down a narrow pair of steps. I get down, and she asks if she can do down again.

The drive home is heartbreak, as Daddy hollers about the dollars he threw to the wind today, and the girl still has the nerve to ask for a facepainting on the way out to the parking lot.

There's a reason fair week only comes once a year.


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