The carnies have snubbed out their last cigarettes, the corndog grease has been carefully preserved for next year, and the chicken poop has been hosed out of the poultry barn -- the fair must be over. Fair time is always a little bittersweet: kids never want it to end, but, like holiday weekends in Amsterdam, if it lasted just one more day they'd probably end up in a gutter. On Saturday, I explained to Dylan that there was only one more day left of the fair. I should have kept my trap shut because it led to a twenty minute conversation on why we can't go to the fair every day of the year. The Amsterdam analogy didn't work so well on her either.
This year, we were fair-heros, at least to Dylan and Grady. We took them every day. We learned that Grady loves sprint cars, but hates the earplugs we made him wear. This made for him being happy-sad-happy-sad at fifteen second intervals. The cars would scream past us and he'd smile, but when they hit the back stretch he couldn't see them so he'd yank his ear plugs off and start to cry until they zoomed past again. Smile, cry, smile, fuss. Over and over. It was even exhausting for the strangers who sat near us.
Dylan got to sit front and center for the rodeo and, we thought, had the time of her life. Then Lefty the Rodeo Clown didn't throw her a trick rope and she missed her chance at getting a free t-shirt and suddenly the rodeo wasn't fun anymore. She told my sister the reasons as she counted them off on her fingers. "One, I didn't get a yellow rope. Two, I didn't get to throw the ball. Three, I didn't get a t-shirt, and, four, I didn't get a blue rope." She changed her tune when grandma gave her five bucks to buy the clown's "special trick rope" (four feet of cheap rope with a bead on the end), and now she wants to be a rodeo queen again. Although, she still won't Mutton Bust (to my relief). We asked her if she'd like to ride a sheep. "No," she replied, "I'll just ride a bus." Good enough.