Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fun For the Whole Eastside Gang

This year's theme for the Siskiyou Golden Fair was "Fun For the Whole Herd" but will forever be known by the Eastside Gang as The Beginning of the End.  Sure, we've been going to the fair since the dawn of man, but we were merely interlopers, drifters rolling through the carnival with the tide of parolees.  This year we pulled back the curtain and saw, really saw, what's to come.

The first shift in perspective came on Day 1 when we realized that Dylan already knows how to work the system.  Dylan ditched us and hit the carnival with her friend Peyton and Pey-Pey's dad, Robert.  Both Dylan and Grady have always worn my old Director IDs on lanyards -- as a cool fashion accessory and also as a talisman against bug-eyed carnies.  The "badge," as one director once told me, will get you in anywhere at the fair except for the women's bathroom.  When we tracked down Dylan later that evening she and Peyton were having a blast.  Dylan had also figured out the power of the ID.  She gets a bracelet that allows her on all the rides, and Peyton had bought a day pass, but Robert was left to buy tickets on his own or stand by and watch.  Dylan gave Robert my lanyard and told him, "You don't need to buy ride tickets, just show this."  Of course it worked, and the three of them rode nearly every ride in the carnival.

After Day 1, Dylan had nearly exhausted the carnival, but there were 3 rides that she hadn't gone on yet: The Zipper (which she's too short to ride, and even the Badge won't get her on that one), The Gravitron (which we call the Barf Centrifuge and thought she could wait a year before she gets in that one), and the Death Drop (not it's real name).  When we realized even Grady was tall enough for that ride, we didn't hesitate to buckle in.  On the Death Drop, everyone gets his/her own seat and you slooowly rise to the top of a spire.  The view from up there is spect.....shiiiit.  The bottom drops out and you freefall back to earth.  Just before your legs get crushed under the chair, some magical force steps in and the chairs stop, just a few feet from the ground.  Everyone either laughs or cries.  Our family was split 50/50.  Grady, surprisingly, loved it and wanted more.  Dylan cried and wouldn't even walk near the ride for the rest of the week.

Our big step into the 4th dimension of the fair was PeeWee Showmanship.  Dylan's been raising 3 calves since last winter and Biggie, the mellowest, was her fair calf.  She took him for walks twice a day and learned to set him up with a show stick so he'd look his finest.  Grady brought El Chapo, the renegade goat.  Grady walked Chapo twice all summer and usually the goat broke free from his grasp.  They all did amazing.  Chapo didn't live up to his name and try to escape and Grady led him around like a Westminster dog.  Dylan and Biggie were perfect.  I thought the big crowd would rattle her, but she wasn't bothered a bit.  Her hard work paid off and she's already strategizing for next year's calf.

Regina and I did the math and figured we only have about 12 more years of this.  By then, all of Dylan and Grady's friends will be wearing old Director IDs on lanyards, and I'll be camped out in the livestock barn, telling anyone who will listen about the time I rode the Death Drop and wasn't scared, not one little bit.