Bass Weejuns Settled My Stomach

Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 09:02 AM.

            The combination never worked for me. I don’t know if it was the hot dogs, the carnival smell drifting upwards from the damp sawdust mixed with tobacco juice, the heat from the lingering Indian summer, too much cotton candy or the second ride on the tilt-a-whirl. It could have been a combination of all of the above. Here’s what I know for sure: try as I might, I could never make it to the Ferris wheel. My stomach just couldn’t hold it all in. Shucks, I would be sick before we got over to the little ducks with the numbers on the bottom. 

The Carroll County Fair was one of the most anticipated weeks in our little world. We’d get excited the moment we spied those “flyers” stapled to every other telephone pole in town smartly announcing the fall return of the rides, eats, excitement, lighted mid-way and the skimpy clad exotic dancers. It was an escape from the mundane. A magical ride to another world! It was curly fries; bobbed up apples; loud circus like music; and Uncle Sam on stilts.

Anticipation is often times better than the event.

Me, Dennis Coleman and Graylene Lemonds would ride over early in the back of Mr. Coleman’s pickup. After the second or third year, I knew not to eat the corn dogs and/or the giant funnel cake…..and then ride the twister. But I was so hungry. And, listen, that twister looked like the ride of a lifetime! While Dennis and Graylene threw darts at the colored balloons, I was over behind the shrunken heads’ tent, doing a little hurling of my own!

That loud music grew louder. The lights wouldn’t stop flashing. I could hear the guy in the red and white stripped coat yelling at the top of his lungs, “Step right up ladies and gentlemen and see the greatest show on the midway. She walks, she talks, she crawls on her belly like a reptile, see the incredible Dance of the Seven Veils! Hurry, Hurry, Hurry, one quarter gets you a front row seat!”           

My head was spinning faster than the tilt-a-whirl. I threw up a chocolate chip cookie, two pickled pigs’ feet and a slaw dog I’d eaten back in April. I promised myself a hundred times I wasn’t going to do this ever again! Of course, the next year I was right back in the same place, eating and riding and getting sick. Wasn’t it Einstein who said it was idiotic to repeat the same action over and over but somehow expect a different result? 

I thought I would outgrow the sickness. I never did.

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