It’s fair time, here in the city of trees. Nowadays, I’m perfectly content to saunter in, eat some greasy goodness, sip fresh squeezed lemonade, and spend all my time perusing the exhibits, rather than taking in the thrill of the carnival.
But there was a day when the fair was my stomping ground. If I wasn’t in the Dog House, hawking chili dogs and kraut dogs, I was working in the puppet booth, putting on shows and otherwise wreaking havoc.
Each year, my friends and I would hitch a ride with our fearless youth leader. Looking back, I pity the man; and not just because we sold one of his shoes for 25 cents to the Keeper of the World’s Smallest Bible, in the tent next door. No, I pity him because he was the lone ranger in a mob of teenage girls. We were unstable, unwieldy, and completely immune to commonsense.
Being vendors, we marched through the front gates well before they were open to the public. Whenever we could sneak away, we’d head straight for the carnival, where we’d find “carnies” stepping out from their tents, rubbing sleep from their eyes, eating breakfast. Some simply ignored us, others offered a kindly “good morning”–others still, invited us to join them on the open road. We made a few friends, even had a summer crush or two.
Oh, that everyone might experience such crazy days of fun and adventure. Because the magic lingers, you know–even when a corn dog suddenly becomes calories-on-a-stick, you kick yourself for forgetting your hand sanitizer, and you count your lucky stars that you can leave the fair in an air conditioned car and not in the hot, dirty bed of a truck.