I love the fair. Everyone comes out of the woodwork and struts their stuff down the midway. There's mullets a plenty and many other oddities. It's also a place where I consider what life would be like on the county fair circuit. I always wonder what it would be like to spend the summer selling french fries and living in a small camper. I also wonder what it's like to work for the company that runs the rides. What are their wages? What are their processes? Do people get vacation or sick time? Is there a carny union? What is the supervisor responsible for? Is there a sense of community? Or is it more like prison labor? Do they stay at motels or do they have RV's too? Do the food vendors look down their noses at the ride operators?
In fact, I was so wrapped up in this train of thought as we waited in line so the girls could go down the giant slide that I wasn't really paying attention when it was their turn. There was this wonderful old lady in a cowboy hat (you can see her picture in the video below) who was handing out the pieces of burlap that you sit on when you ride the slide. I told Riley to go ahead and take one, but the old lady turned to me and said, "You carry them..."
She said this with so much authority that I took two pieces of burlap from her and followed my children up the narrow, open, steel staircase. It wasn't until I was about half way up that I realized that there was very little between me and the ground but air and steps made of foil. Panic rose to my ears as I had to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. How are my kids doing this with no fear? By the time I reached the top my chest was clenched with fear. The guy at the top gave me a friendly smile and said, "You OK, Mom?"
I lied and said I was. He spread the burlap sacks side by side. I sat on one with Lucy and Riley sat next to me, holding my hand. We slid down that slide and it was nice enough. The girls wanted to do it again. Over my dead body, was what I thought, but once they saw the line the decided it was time to move on to the mini coaster.