Last Thursday was a perfect example of all the things that I love about living in a small town in the middle of nowhere. I can go from shopping in the morning with Mom and spending far too much money at Sephora (Hi Army Boy!)(Crap), to making the rounds at the yearly town fair within a matter of hours. We’re a short drive from the nearest “city,” and a decent train trip from NYC and DC. And I can take photographs of animal genitalia.
After spending money on the many powders and potions that we women count among our secret weapons, I got home late in the afternoon, and shared tales of my girls’ day with Army Boy. Not knowing my schedule that day, we hadn’t planned anything definite for dinner. Instead, we were going to hit up the Fair to take in the sights and indulge in the naughtiness of fair food.
We pulled into the parking lot at the high school, and left our car for the walk to the fairgrounds. As we passed the high school football field and watched the crowds of people all drifting toward the same location, I was struck with a wave of nostalgia and rightness. I feel so lucky to have the chance to buy a house in the town that I grew up in, with a man who has the same desires as I do for a home and family.
When I was a middle and high school student, Fair week was a huge deal. It was the first chance to see some classmates you hadn’t seen all summer, and to take stock of how everyone had changed. Someone had a new hairstyle, someone had gotten hotter, and unexpected new “couples” had emerged.
Last year, one of our first dates was to the Fair. We still hadn’t clarified the fact that we were “dating”, since he was still “married.” We made the rounds, and sat in the massive food court area surrounded by food trucks to engage in the true fair sport: people-watching. It was a limited success, since the people we ran into happened to be his wife’s brother. (Awkward!!)
This year was a totally different perspective, now that we’re engaged and have chosen to make our life in town. We were imagining bringing our kids there in future years, and seeing the whole experience anew through their eyes.
Initially, we wandered around the grounds for a while trying to decide what we wanted to eat. I used the opportunity to snap some pictures and try to capture the feeling of the atmosphere. We meandered back to the livestock area, and watched children squealing with delight as they held baby bunnies and visited with calves in the petting zoo. I made sure to take a picture of the first place-winning rabbit for one of The Yezel’s sisters, because it was SO FLUFFY!!@! We saw the sheep getting lined up for the show ring, and visited with the huge, passive cows as they were eating their dinner.
In true going-to-hell fashion, Army Boy announced that all the cows had made him crave a cheese-steak, and we headed back to the main fairgrounds to get some dinner.
I saw that a booth from the local radio station had been set up, any my favorite morning show djs were there. Typically, I would have gawked a little bit and walked away, being afraid of looking like a “nerd.”
The last year of spilling my guts on the Internet has taught me something- have balls (my lord, I talk about balls alot in this post, don’t I?). Do what you want to in all situations. Be authentic to yourself, whether it’s being a nerd, a know-it-all or a hopeless fangirl. You won’t regret being genuine.
I handed Army Boy the camera, and we went over to the booth.
“Hi!” the female dj greeted us warmly.
“Hi! I love you guys, do you mind taking a picture with me?” I asked.
“Sure!” The male dj replied, and they both came out of the booth to meet us, shake hands and take pictures. The male dj is a New England transplant, so we were able to swap stories of vacations in New England and trips to Block Island. They were amazingly cool, and I’m so glad that I “nutted up,” so to speak. Now I have a super cool picture of the 3 of us.
After that, what can only be described as gluttony began. I was on a very specific mission for two staples of deep fried cuisine- pickles, and twinkies. I’d heard raves about each from various sources, and made the Fair my excuse to totally indulge. The pickles quickly became a disappointment, as we’d staked out the fried veggie stands and not come across anything of the pickled variety.
Alas. Woe is me. Where are the funnel cakes?
Army Boy followed through on his threat to eat a cheesesteak, while I enjoyed a gyro. We also split the mythical funnel cake, and started to make our way back to the exit. On the way, I had to stop and get my yearly indulgence: cotton candy. No, I’m never growing up.
We were also suckered in by the stand of a local maple syrup producer, and treated ourselves to a bottle of the good stuff. There are very few items about which I’m a food snob, and real maple syrup is one of them. You just can’t beat it.
Just when we were almost out of the crowd and our wallets were breathing a collective sigh of relief, I spotted it.
“DEEP FRIED TWINKIES!!”
I grabbed Army Boy by the arm, feeling like I’d found a mythical treasure. “Look!” I pointed, slightly manically.
“Oh no,” he looked at me fearfully, still stuffed from our previous culinary conquests. Within minutes, there were two golden Twinkies spinning lazily in a hot tub of oil, ready for us to demolish them.
We tried, in all honesty. Had we left out the previous fried delight, it may have been possible. There’s only so much saturated fat that human beings can consume in a short period of time, and we both reached our limit. My lack of gallbladder started protesting strongly that THIS IS A BAD IDEA, and we called it a night after just a few bites.
Those few bites were totally worth it, and completely heavenly though.
The day after, I had a killer case of heartburn and felt in need of detox. But I considered the evening a smashing success. Deep-fried Twinkies, schmoozing with local celebs and seeing the biggest pair of sheep testes ever encountered… I’d say that about covers it.