When I started this blog, I wrote a post about the county fair that I went to once when I was 12 years old. I was really excited about going, but it didn’t turn out to be the most pleasant experience. In the spirit of making new memories, I went back to the same county fair last week and had an entirely different experience. (Thank God!) I didn’t ride any rides this time (I prefer keeping my food in my belly), but enjoyed all the displays and junk food and the thrill of walking hand-in-hand with a handsome man who proudly introduced me to his friends. The weather was beautiful, we were relaxed and happy, and the day was topped off with something called a “Combine Demolition Derby.”
For those of you who are as uneducated about farm life as me, a combine is a very large tractor used to harvest crops. It has two big front wheels and two smaller back wheels, an enclosed cab area for the driver, and a large attachment on the front that separates and cuts the crops. These machines can cost up to $500K, so I’m not sure why anyone wants to smash them into one another, but one of the combines in the derby had a title painted on the side that seemed to explain it all: “Redneck Recycling.”
In the Combine Derby, several of these huge machines enter a small, confined space and bang into one another until all are disabled but one. The last one standing is the winner. I’ve been to a demolition derby with cars once in Nashville, but that’s as close as I’ve come to this kind of entertainment. I was a little skeptical when my new boyfriend (a farmer from the rural area where I grew up) said this would be a fun way to spend an evening. Much to my surprise, it really was fun. The large, open cabs on the combines give the viewer better access to see the drivers, who worked hard to entertain us. We could see when they were having problems shifting or were steering one direction but the combine was going another direction. The large wheels made it very obvious when they were disabled. I definitely think I’d return to another combine derby.
So in honor of my most recent and better experience at the county fair, I’ve edited my previous story and am reposting it so you get a good understanding of the contrast. Mom straightened me out on some of the details, which actually make the story a little funnier (in my opinion). Enjoy!
Wenger Family Fun, Take 2…
In the farming community that I lived in until I was 12, the county fair was a really big deal. There were all kinds of rides and they actually cancelled school because all the farm kids took animals they had raised to show and compete at the fair. This was a totally foreign concept to me, but I wanted to go to the fair for the rides. ALL the other kids went to the fair, but Mom and Dad would never take us. It was terribly expensive to ride the rides. I think you could get a bracelet to ride them all for $15 (plus $6 to get into the fair) and that was highway robbery.
When Adam was a baby, I finally convinced Mom and Dad to take us to the fair. Adam couldn’t have been more than 3 months old and they had this nifty carrier thing that Dad could strap to his chest and carry Adam around. So off we went, into unchartered territory, with a father who was NOT HAPPY about the amount of money he was about to spend. I was as dressed up as I could be with my little lavender purse just chock full of money ($27 was a lot of money to an 12-year-old) and about to burst with excitement.
Things did not start well. Not only was Dad in a bad mood to begin with (which we all tried to ignore and act extra cheerful to help him out – no fighting, no asking to go to the bathroom), but he had not anticipated the parking situation. They had turned a field into a parking lot and it was muddy and rough. We had to park as far away as a person could get from the fair and hike in through the field. Mom was wearing flip-flops and after we’d hiked for a good 10 minutes (or so it seemed), her shoe broke. So Dad tried to fix it with the metal tab of a Coke can. Dad got it fixed up so Mom could at least continue walking, sort of (she would never admit there was another problem at this point), and off we went again.
We spent the atrocious amount of money to get into the fair and started riding the rides. I convinced my mom and sister to go on the teacups with me, so Dad went to show off his son to his friends. After spinning around in circles within circles, the three of us stumbled off the ride to find the nearest trash can to throw up in… (Ugh. Who comes up with these rides?) We found Dad and were considering if our upset tummies could handle another ride when Dad commented that his shirt felt wet. We trudged along toward the next ride while he tried to discover the source of the wetness.
Suddenly, we heard a great shout and looked over to see Dad standing stock still staring at his hand that was frozen in mid-air. It was covered with yellowish brown slime. Yup, folks, it was poop. Upon further inspection, we found that our sweet little three-month old baby had at that very moment released more poop than we thought could come out of a grown man into the tiny littlest diaper – which of course could not hold all the poop.
It was everywhere: in the carrier, in Adam’s clothes, up his back, in his hair, all over Dad’s shirt and arm and hand… And remember, things were already tense that day. This was one of the first times they’d used the carrier, so they weren’t real familiar with how to put it on and take it off, and those things can be kind of tricky. So Dad found an empty tent at the edge of the fair and commanded us all inside while he and Mom tried to figure out how to get this carrier thing off him and Adam out of it without smearing any more poop around. Oh, by the way, it stunk to high heaven! There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth…
Katie and I stood off to the side and tried our best not to laugh out loud. I mean, what else do you do??? Stay out of the way and do all you can to stifle your giggles and PRAY that at some point this will strike Dad as funny.
And then I made a startling discovery. My little lavender purse with the $27 inside was missing! After we had sort of cleaned up the poop, we silently backtracked to the teacups and discovered my purse in a nearby trashcan. Everything was inside but the money, which brought me to tears. All my hard-earned savings was gone. We left the fair then. I don’t remember the lecture I received on the way out, but I’m sure it was really good. If I had any memory of the ride home, I’ve suppressed it by now!
And so, now you see why this most recent trip to the fair was so much better than the last one. And yes, Mom and Dad, I learned my lesson and brought absolutely NO money to the fair with me this time. And when contemplating what pair of flip-flops to wear, I thought better of it and put on my tennis shoes.