In the farming community that I lived in until I was 12, the county fair was a really big deal. There were all kinds of rides and they actually cancelled school because all the farm kids took animals they had raised to show and compete at the fair. This was a totally foreign concept to me, but I wanted to go to the fair for the rides. ALL the other kids went to the fair, but Mom and Dad would never take us. It was terribly expensive to ride the rides. I think you could get a bracelet to ride them all for $15 and that was highway robbery. When my little brother was a baby, I finally convinced Mom and Dad to take us to the fair. Adam couldn’t have been more than 3 months old and they had this nifty carrier that Dad could strap to his chest to carry him around. So off we went, into uncharted territory, with a father who was NOT HAPPY about the amount of money he was about to spend. I was as dressed up as I could be with my little lavender purse just chock full of money ($7 was a lot of money to an 11 year old) and about to burst with excitement.
Things did not start off well. Not only was Dad in a bad mood (which we all tried to ignore and act extra cheerful to help him out – no fighting, no asking to go to the bathroom), but he had not anticipated the parking situation. A field had been turned into a parking lot and it was muddy and rough. We had to park as far away as a person could get from the fair and hike in through the field. Mom was wearing flip flops and after we’d hiked for a good 10 minutes (or so it seemed), her shoe broke. So Dad tried to fix it with a soda pop can tab – adding to the tension of the day. Dad got it fixed up so Mom could at least continue walking, sort of (she would never had admitted there was another problem at this point), and off we went again.
We made it through the evil ticket booth and got our bracelets to ride the rides. Dad went off to show off this son to the people he might know and Mom took my sister and me to the teacups. We rode a few rides and met back up with Dad again.
As we were walking along, us girls begging for some wonderful-smelling fair food and getting the stink-eye for asking to spend more money, Dad commented that his shirt felt wet. Suddenly, we heard a great shout and looked over to see Dad standing stock still staring at his hand frozen in mid-air. It was covered with yellowish brown slime. Yup, folks, it was poop. Upon further inspection, we found that our sweet little three-month old baby had at that very moment released more poop than we thought could come out of a grown man into the tiny littlest diaper – which of course could not hold all the poop.
There was poop everywhere: all in the carrier, in Adam’s clothes, up his back, in his hair, all over Dad’s shirt and arm and hand… And remember, things were already tense in the family that day. This was one of the first times they’d used the carrier, so they weren’t familiar with how to put it on and take it off, and those things can be kind of tricky. So Dad found an empty tent at the edge of the fair and commanded us all inside while he and Mom tried to figure out how to get this carrier thing off him and Adam out of it without smearing any more poop around. Oh, by the way, it stunk to high heaven! There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth…
Katie and I stood off to the side and tried our best not to laugh out loud. I mean, what else do you do in that kind of a situation??? Stay out of the way and do all you can to stifle your giggles and PRAY that at some point this will strike Dad as funny.
As we were waiting for Dad to get cleaned up, I suddenly realized that I didn’t have my little lavender purse that contained my life savings. And so we retraced our steps, Dad only a little stinky, Mom’s shoe hanging on by a thread, and me crying my eyes out… We finally found it in a trash can around the corner from the teacups. Everything was still in the purse but the cash.
I’m pretty sure we left the fair then. If I had any memory of the ride home, I’m sure I’ve suppressed it by now!