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Friday, August 26, 2016

day at the fair

What makes the Portage County Randolph Fair so good is that half
the county is rural, and 4H flourishes here. All those animals
and shows entice the big rides and best food vendors, plus
tractors, tractor pulls and the annual demolition derby. All of
that together attracts people, people, people.. and me and my SSP
friend.

I can't see or hear, and for events like the fair, I need to use
a wheelchair, but I don't like to miss out on things. The county
fair was a huge part of growing up in Portage County. It's still
huge, even though I'm supposed to be a grown up. I never liked
big rides. I ignore that section, and focus on what I do enjoy.
We went to the fair on opening day. This means the animals don't
smell quite as bad, but the kids are more protective, since the
animals haven't been judged yet. I also noticed a change in the
air and general feel of the environment, a literal lack of
movement. Usually there are tractor pulls going on. I can hear
the roar of the engines, feel the vibration of the motors. I
guess we were too early for that, which is fine, but I missed the
smell of gasoline on the air. People aren't supposed to like that
scent, but everyone does.

We started with the merchants, a whole heck of a lot of them. I
love getting free candy and useless stuff and entering in
raffles. I usually run into people I know, and buy cheap jewelry,
or other things I could live without, but it's the fair, so I
must have it.

Raffles: We only saw one, health supplement from the new
pharmacy at NEOMed. Joseph, who wasn't with us, couldn't
understand why I entered a raffle I didn't want to win.

"Because it was free."

"But you don't want the prize," he insisted.

"But it was free."

Shopping: Sadly, I was under a budget this year. I skipped over
the t-shirts, didn't even try to buy game character stuff for
Joseph and somehow resisted the "Cavaliers Ave." sign that was
calling me name. (maybe because I have no where to hang it." I
was a bad girl on the earrings, buying four pairs of tiny studded
designs that are perfect for my second set of pierced ear lobes.

People: A woman from the Portage County Board of Developmental
Disabilities seemed to know me, but I didn't recognize her name.
Turns out she is the daughter of one of my friends who I hadn't
see in a long time. Her mother and grandmother would be arriving
later. I ran into both of them at different locations. It was a
reunion of sorts... a very good one. It's hard to come to the
fair without bumping into someone you know.

By this point, I was dying of thirst and couldn't imagine how Meg
felt, pushing me around in the wheelchair, describing dozens of
earrings and acting as an interpreter. I was looking for lemonade
and ended up with a deliciously cold cherry slush. Meg got the
same, and said it hit the spot. After a moment, it hit the wrong
spot... brain freeze! That didn't stop us from drinking.

Next, we headed for the animals. My absolute favorite are the
goats. They are brimming with personality, so silly and cute.
Getting them to my side of the cage isn't easy. Some bounced
around all over the place. Others slept in a far corner. I
touched an ear here, a leg there, and I don't know what that part
was.

Meg convinced a boy to bring his goat out for me to meet. It was
love at first touch. This little guy, the goat, not the boy, was
short and stout, very, very wide. I wanted to sing the tea pot
song. "I'm a little goatie, shirt and stout..."

We hit the small animals next. I could hear the general racket of
chickens and ducks, and an actual "cock-a-doodle-doo" from a
rooster. Meg managed to get my finger close to a rabbit. When its
nose touched my fingertip, it seemed startled and quickly jumped
back. The rapid movement startled me, and I almost jumped out of
my wheelchair.

The last excitement of the day was smelling the food: sausage,
hamburgers, french fries, green peppers, corn, pulled pork,
funnel cakes and just about everything deep-fried you could think
of. I wanted fried veggies and fried cheese on a stock, but we
weren't able to stay and eat. I got some of my favorite fudge, I
love fudge!, and we headed to the car. I arrived home exhausted,
the good kind of tiredness that comes from a fun day out. My face
and arms tingled, having been slightly kissed by the sun. I was
wishing I could go back, do it all over again. The county fair is
one of the best places in the world.

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