This Wednesday night Hal and I decided to take Sarah to the Fair - notice the capital letters to give the word emphasis. When I was a kid, everyone looked forward to the Fair in the Fall. Popcorn, pizza, corn dogs, and funnel cakes and all sorts of dizzyingly fun rides - plus a night out with our friends! I don't know about you, but I never got to go out at night! This was one of the funnest things to do all year and lots of times we even got to go on a school night. There you go. Until that one year when I sat down in someone's puke. I can't remember the exact ride but "the whirly bird" comes to mind. All I know is I sat down in the seat and felt an oozing warm wetness and then smelled that horrible puke smell, stomach acid, half-digested food, and nasty green bile. It was a yucky disaster. My dad got so bent out of shape, and we pretty much had to leave because who in the heck brings a spare set of clothes to the freaking Fair?! Ugh. It was awful and I've been trying *not* to remember that night or the Fair ever since. But last week Hal started talking about it, and then Sarah started talking about it, and then I found myself pretty much being coerced into to going or facing the fact that I'm probably a crappy mother. So I went.
The smell of hay and cows and popcorn all mixed into one was the first sensation besides the colorful lights that I experienced upon getting out of the car. There was the Boy Scout who was supposed to be helping us park but was instead more interested in playing with the gravel on the ground at his feet. His mother kept yelling at him and I laughed in sympathy at her frustration. Four bucks to get in wasn't bad - we had almost $40 in cash after raiding the kiddo's piggy bank. I decided that this was a good opportunity to teach Sarah a little bit about how spending money works. She got to buy tickets, food, and go on 4 rides all by herself. She saw someone she knew and got so excited that she lost herself in telling us rather than saying hi to the person she'd spotted. Hal tried the boiled peanuts while we listened to some live country music - I snapped a few pictures and just took it all in, and wasn't terribly focused on avoiding puke. I guess the ER has softened me a bit where vomit is concerned. Can't avoid those sights, sounds, or smells in the ER! I visited the cows and tried to figure out whether or not I appreciated the showing of cattle and had a whole ethical debate in my head about whether or not I really should be eating meat. I guess at my core I really am a nerd.
There is one thing that stuck with me though: one of the fair tents had merchandise for sale - almost all of it cheap cheesy crap from China but I took a look anyway (it's a woman's right to shop no matter where she is). There was a hanger of flags and I looked all the way through them. There were military flags, POW MIA flags, and rebel flags but not one actual American flag. I understand pride in where you come from but the rebel flags need to go. To me they are a sign of ignorance and hate nowadays rather than anything resembling pride. They are simply outdated. Fortunately there wasn't a long line of people hurrying to buy them. It's funny to me that the same crowd of folks that would buy leather bracelets with christian fish symbols on them would buy the rebel flag as well. There's a reason why that particular collection of merchandise was in that tent for sale. Consumer demand. Sad, but true.