I have always loved the State Fair. When I was a child, the only vacation my parents and I ever had was a two- or three-day stay at the Iowa State Fair, at Des Moines. We'd borrow a tarp from a farmer, and Mother would somehow make a tent out of it, with one end over our car, sloping from there to the ground. Oh what a great adventure it was! We didn't have a lot of money for me to ride; I think I was allowed one ride each day, or perhaps two. Nights on the campground, a few people would get "likkered up" and start hog-calling from one end to the other. Daddy, although he didn't drink, joined in the hog-calling. I thought it was hilarious. Mother made a stove from a coffee-can by poking nail-holes in the lid (they were all metal then), putting sand in the can, putting a thimble-full of gasoline in the sand, and lighting it. Hard to believe, huh? I asked her about this five or six years ago, and she said that's how it was done. Anyhow, that was how they made coffee, and cooked bacon and eggs in the mornings.
Cliff isn't a big fan of the Missouri State Fair. Camping out in the heat isn't his idea of fun, and he says he can see everything he's interested in at the fair in one day. So for years, I only dreamed of re-living my childhood vacations.
Then my son's family returned from Germany. Arick was eleven or so and was spending quite a bit of time at our house; and I got a brainstorm. Would Cliff feel comfortable with taking Arick and me to Sedalia, setting up the camper for us, and leaving us there for two or three days?
That was a solution he could live with, and for the next three years or so, that's how we worked it out. Sometimes my daughter's son joined us, and one year her step-son went along.
Then the boys outgrew the fair, so I skipped it for some years.
One day at break, I was telling the ladies I worked with about my State Fair adventures. As I was speaking about camping with Arick, and the fun I'd had, I got another brainstorm: Monica, my daughter's oldest girl, was seven. Maybe she'd enjoy the fair with me!
That was a great idea that worked; and last year both Monica and Natalie went. We'll do it again, in less than three weeks. I think they're good for at least three more years of fair-going (maybe longer for Natalie), and perhaps when they're too old to consider it fun, Cliff won't be afraid to leave me there alone.
Oh, just for the record: Girls are easier to take to the fair than boys, and don't get bored nearly as easily.
Yesterday I went to Lowes and bought tickets for our unlimited-rides wristband. This week I'll make sure the camper is ready. I can't wait!