Tuesday, August 17, 2010


We three went a-Fairin’ last night, to very happy results---the first Fair for our Baby Girl since that HOT afternoon when she was not-quite-one. That one was spent alternately pushing the stroller and wiping her little face and arms with a bathcloth wrung out in the little ice-chest, for we were in company of visitors, and just sought out shade and cool as we could.

This time, she’s almost three, and talked about it for days before---we were very fortunate in waiting-for-Monday, for the air was so cool and pleasant, and the night drew on clear and starry---we could see the crescent-moon, Venus, and a glowing contrail in the sapphire sky, even above the garish midway.

Our goals were simple: See the piggies and lambs, and ride the merry-go-round. And we did, with several little side-treks into buildings---once for a case of raspberry honey for our Fair-Going friends. That was late in the trip, and the heavy box of jars took Sweetpea’s place in the little pink folding stroller we picked up at Target on our way.

So we went to the Piggie-Barn, and saw the brand-new babies, born end of July. Little pigs can be some of the most charming small creatures---the pink ones are the pinkest there is, with the gleam of their silvery little pelts giving them a pearly cast. They just look so CLEAN---not quite presaging the muck to come.

photos from the internet
We went on to the lamb barn, and strolled our way through the maze of blacks and whites and grays, tiny bleating fluff on stilts, big just-shorn slick ones sporting a tat assortment to joy the heart of Miss Kat von d, and one kneeling wise old golden one, prototype of sheep-in-film, with the curly coat and the eyes old as time. Our Girl petted and stroked and reached out to several, talking to them in soft tones.

And then we happened upon a lovely bit of lagniappe: the Percheron judging. These beautiful sculptures of walking black satin were primped within inches of their lives---silver chains and harnesses and manes clipped and banded in little stiff sheaves standing proud as a Roman helmet. They were just gorgeous, stepping high and proud, pulling their carriages and sulkies and one bright circus wagon, parading down the street into the arena to the judges.

We made our way to the Merry-go-Round, talking all the time of riding Princess, the horse who would be waiting especially for US. She’d not be pink, we didn’t think, but a nice rosy shade, with pretty decorations and a nice smile. And she was. She was all of that, and there was not a huge crowd, so after we stepped up onto that big round floor and made our way through snorting steeds, prancing palfreys, high-stepping horses and other garish mounts, there she was---right ahead, in the center row, just waiting for us.
We got all ready, with the rider sitting firmly in the saddle, holding the pole, and me with my arms firmly around her. And it’s a good thing---that was the fastest carousel in the history of Barnum. I’m telling you, we whirled like a whirlwind, charging around that stationary track, holding on for dear life---too much G-force to wave at Chris, who was grinning and waving from the sidelines.

We squealed “YEEEEE-HAW!” and patted the brave Princess, who was giving us one great ride. And she WON! She came in ahead of every horse on there. Good Girl.

Chris had said he’d like to take Sweetpea on the BIG Ferris Wheel---not MY idea, but he’s so careful and comforting with all the little ones, she was rarin’ to go. Even after she saw the immensity of the thing stretching WAY up into that night sky---she pranced herself right up that ramp and headed for the gondola. And away and up they went---almost first on, so they had the longest ride of all, as the wheel would go for a moment, then stop for the next two cars to load at the bottom.

I followed them around with my eyes, and that whole long series of round and round, my heart rode in Car #2.

Back to the carousel, which hadn’t slowed a bit; we climbed aboard and took our chances on that gaudy centrifuge once again; Princess was patiently awaiting us. This time, we tried to raise our hands to wave at Chris, but it was hard work. Our Girl’s little pink cheeks were so pink, and her eyes shining, as she smiled BIG and shouted at me, “Ganner’s my very, very, VERY, VERY Best Brother!”

She’s had very little contact with the concept of brothers, until she interacted with the Grands at the beach , and a boy sibling is still a bit of a mystery.

She was getting tired when we left the Fair about ten, and so she was occupying the stroller as we took that LONG trek back out to the parking lot. I had put the box of honey and two jars of our own into the big bookbag I carried the necessaries in. Trudging up and down all the stroller-ramps got dicey, with the bag handles cutting into one shoulder after the other, as I kept brushing Chris off, for he was seeing to Our Girl's transport.

I stopped, reached into the bag, padded my shoulder, and unashamedly walked out of the Indiana State Fair wearing one bright pink, Princess-emblazoned Pull-Up Epaulette.


Jeanne said...

Hi Rachel, I love your 'Fair' story. Baby girl had the time of her little life. I know you and your dh did too. I love the pics you shared. That Merry go round looked very fast. Wow! The baby piglets were so darling. I remember when we had piglets on the farm when I was small. we couldn't touch them because the mama sow would bite us. My sister had a birthday party on the farm and all of her classmates wanted to see the piglets. My dad warned them to not climb the fence to get the piglets and one little boy did exactly that. My dad had to save him from the sow and dad was bitten instead. That was the end of that party, to my sister's dismay. You sparked a memory I haven't thought about in years. Smile.

You are the best and most loving grandparents. Baby girl will always adore you.

Hugs, Jeanne

Chesapeake said...

Oh, such a wonderful story. I wish I could see Herself now. It's been too long! What fun she had. And many thanks for your literal labors, my dearest Rachel! We had no intention of turning you into a pack mule. But Chris said he had a cart. Is that a new pet name?

Kat said...

Oh, what fun you had and what memories you made.


Tonja said...

I can smell the sawdust and the animals, and the cotton candy and the funnel cakes and all those other wonderful fair smells. And the sounds! The ride sounds, the laughter, the animals and the barkers. And, being there with Baby Girl...How wonderful! Hope you made pictures! And, I bet you looked just fine with that extra absorbent shoulder pad!

Maggie McArthur said...

You took me there, Rachel. Oh for the thrill of that first whirl-around on the carousel! And Chris deserves the title of "very very VERY Very best brother"--best Ganner too.

Kim Shook said...

Wonderful post, Rachel. I could see her little self on 'Princess' and LOVED the shoulder pad! We haven't been to the fair in years, but heard an NPR report on all the deep fried atrocities and chocolate covered bacon and we may just have to go this year.

And baby piggies are just sweet. I am slightly evil, though, because the juxtaposition of the piggie picture and it being you posting reminded me of your son's sublime sweet piggies in the blanket!

racheld said...

It was certainly a wonderful night---we're still talking about little bits of it, and the folks who ordered the honey have called twice, almost groveling in their dismay for my discomfort, so we've had to reassure them that it was written in jest.

We made no pictures, as we knew we'd need all hands free for pushing that stroller, helping with cotton candy, and keeping that energy-bundle corralled within a few feet of us in that crowd.

Maggie---I told Chris just this morning that you said that---and he's bashfully grateful!

And Kim---they had DEEP FRIED BUTTER!!! I averted my eyes and held my breath as we passed the little flap-window setup, so as not ti get even a HINT of how they do that.

But those piggies were her favorite barn visit, and even in the same sentence, may I say that a big panful of those sweet ones will be the first BAKE when we fire up the big stove this Fall.

sparrowgrass said...

Deep fried butter is really a biscuit with a pat of butter tucked in, dipped in batter and deep fried, I believe. I haven't had one, but I think Paula Deen (who else!?!?) has a recipe on her site.

I spent Friday night flipping funnel cakes and deep fried Twinkies in our booth at the rodeo, and I still get a whiff of sweet fried dough every once in a while, even after several shampoos and 4 or 5 hours of soaking in the pool on Saturday and Sunday.

Kouign Aman said...

Rachel, you may be a southe'n gal from way back,
but that shoulder pad was pure 'good old Yankee ingenuity'.

Love the writing. Brings back memories of our then-3, at the air show. The same sense of excitement and wonder that you convey so well.