Tag Archives: country music

It’s fair season Part II

 State fair

After the county fairs, there are the regional fairs followed by state fairs.  I truly loved the Arkansas/Oklahoma fair which did run for a full week.  There were of course the exhibits I loved, a wonderful midway with games, rides and fair food and music.  Each night featured a different musical event.  One year a friend and I bought full pass tickets for every night.  It nearly killed us.  Not only did we work all day, but went to the full fair every night.  Each night we did a different exhibit hall, hit the midway for a different fair food experience, then headed to our third row seats for the music.  Country, rock, pop, gospel, it was all there.   By Saturday night, I was so tired of fairs!

That brings us to the STATE FAIR.  The smack daddy of Arkansas fairs is held in Little Rock, the state capital.  For a small town girl, this was the big time!  When I was a teenager, my best friend (who lived in another itty bitty town) and I would meet in Little Rock for a long weekend at the fair.  I would board a bus at Daddy’s drug store, she would hop on a bus in her town and family friends would pick us up and more or less keep an eye on us.  Their house was our home base even though all we did was sleep there.  In the morning we were dropped of at the gates when they opened and at night picked up there when they closed.  Now, you must remember this was a loooonnnnngggggg time ago.  A much simpler more trusting time.   I think that now our parents would be thrown under the jail for allowing two teenage girls to ride a bus that far alone, not to mention allowing us to spend an entire day alone, unchaperoned, unsupervised and among heaven knows what kind of weirdos.

In 1964 Elvis Presley had a movie, Roustabout, where he play a “carnie”.  This made carnies intriguing and romantic, or at least they were to a couple of teenage girls. I remember them all as young, well built and cute.  When I close my eyes I still see blue eyes in a tanned face, hair just long enough to be rebellious and killer smiles.  Not a toothless, creepy old man among them.  We batted our eyes, giggled and practiced our flirting skills.  Sure enough, we were almost always rewarded with a smile, wink and an extra long ride.  Now, we did have enough sense to not try this at any games, these guys were out for our money.  No, we left the games to the boys.  Where did we get boys?  The livestock barns of course.

Imagine all these small town, 4-H country boys in the big city for the fair.  There was only so much grooming and showing of livestock they could do in a day.  Usually there was a father or big brother along because they were small town, 4-H country boys in the big city.  While we did go to look at the beautiful cows and huge pigs, fluffy sheep and goofy goats, we also went to look at the cute boys.  And practice our flirting skills.  It was a rare trip through a barn that did not result in at least one father telling his flirting back son, “Here, take the girls for a ride or win them a teddy bear.”  Off we went and being young and healthy country boys, we usually got a stuffed animal or two.

One year, my friend (oh, let’s call her Jana) and I figured out that if we were so successful at the fair with just our natural beauty and wit, how much more so if we were foreign!  Bear in mind, this was in the 60s and the height of the British invasion.  We knew all the British slang and had perfected the ultimately cool Cockney accent.  Now I don’t really remember who thought up this great idea or whether it just happened, but for an entire day we were no longer from Mulberry or Aubrey, Arkansas, we were worldly British citizens.  Who knew, maybe we were actually friends with the Beatles or Dave Clark Five.  People stared with amazement at the two young women from London who had come to the fair; how brave they were to come all this way for the fair!  We got even more long rides, extra cotton candy, bigger corn dogs.  4-H boys fought for the privilege of escorting such rare birds (Cockney slag for girls you know) to the midway.  Well, that is how it appeared to us anyway.  Hind sight does tell me otherwise and I’m pretty sure my hillbilly accent diluted the Cockney.  But let me tell you, it was FUN and even today makes me laugh.

The State Fair also had the best sideshows.  We saw fire eaters, sword swollowers, elastic men, and bearded women.  Somehow we even got in to see Little Jessie Jane And Her Chest Full Of 44s (they didn’t check ages back then).  There was Pop-Eye who you guessed it, could pop his EYEBALLS OUT! So cool! But the very, very, very best was the gorilla girl.  Yes, a girl who was also a gorilla!  How could anyone resist?  One year we had a third fair goer, let’s call her Arbutus, just to protect me.  She was as eager to see the gorilla girl as we were.  For those of you who have never seen this amazing show, let me tell you how it went.

You went into a good sized tent which had a stage with a big iron cage.  In the cage was a beautiful young woman wearing a leopard bathing suit.  Her hair was wild and she looked deranged and dangerous.  Her handler (a man in safari garb) told us how he had found her in the deep dark jungle where she had been held captive by an insane witch doctor.  He could put her into a trance and she would turn into a gorilla RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES!  Yes!  We want to see that!  A few words of mumbo jumbo then the girl closed her eyes started murmuring,  Gorilla, Gorilla,Gorilla, Gorilla,Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla. And suddenly, SHE WAS A GORILLA!  She rattled the cage, it sprang open, she jumped into the crowd, and we ran!  Oh the excitement, oh the thrill.  Worth every penny.

End of the story?  Hardly.  Sooner or later, all good things must come to an end and it was back home and back to school.  Now Arbutus had a very good imagination and she had been really impressed with gorilla girl.  One day she was in a class which was very, very boring and since she sat at one of the back tables, she decided to see if she could turn into a gorilla.  I’m not sure if she did the mumbo jumbo (I never asked), but she did close her eyes and mummer, Gorilla, Gorilla,Gorilla, Gorilla,Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla.  Maybe she didn’t mummer as softly as she should have, because her teacher heard her and went back to see what was going on.  Gorilla, Gorilla,Gorilla, Gorilla,Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla. ” Arbutus!” he said, “Arbutus!”  No response. Gorilla, Gorilla,Gorilla, Gorilla,Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla.  “ARBUTUS!” he finally shouted, fear in his voice.  “Oh, my God!” screamed Arbutus, “I’ve turned into a gorilla!”

I don’t know if the other students ran screaming from the class room, but parents were called.


Not just a country song

Wasted days and wasted nights, is not just an old country song as I have discovered. I don’t think Freddy Fender was singing about my current life, but it sure does feel like it sometime.  Please tell me I’m not the only one, I really want to hear what you have to say!(Since you are a Boomer, I am assuming you now have that song running through your head, and if you are like me you will have to Youtube Freddy Fender which will lead to other great “Classic Country” stars you have to look up, then on to Spotify to listen to an early Marty Robbins album and then create a new Pandora channel for later).

If you read the “about me” page, you know I am semi-retired. I don’t go to work until 10:00 a.m. and get off at 2:00 p.m. Yep, anyway you look at it I work four hours a day. And to top it off, I don’t work weekends. So, I’ve got plenty of time to get stuff done. Ha! Then why do I feel so out of control? Could it be that over the years I have developed laziness to a fine art? Heaven knows I have really honed my ability to do nothing over the years, but I never thought it would reach this stage.

I have been told that one of the best things about being retired is never having to get out of your nightgown.  (Now Sundays have been nightgown day for quite a while.  As soon as we get home from church and lunch, I change for my nap and frequently never change again). And, I do so agree with that sentiment.  I stayed retired for a couple of months before I went to work part time.  And, guess what.  I stayed in my nightgown and watched movies, TV shows I’d missed (curse you Netflix), caught up on my reading and of course, spent waaaaaay to much time on the computer.  On the plus side, I crushed Zuma and Luxor so I never have to play them again.

But having Nort just look at me, shake his head and sigh one time too many did prompt me to do something with my days.  I did get the house all cleaned up and under control.  I cooked, Lord did I cook and worked in the yard (more about that later).  But, and this is the big but (not to be confused with a bodacious booty), all the things I thought I’d do didn’t happen.  I pictured lazy lunches with the “girls”, camping out at my sewing machine and doing some framing.  I was going to meet Nort for lunch and greet him with a cocktail when he got home.  Since Nort is still fully and gainfully employed, I knew that travel was not going to be a serious thing.  But, I was going to get the Guppy (the motor home) all ready to go at a moments notice.  How in the world did all my plans just vanish?

I managed to keep a basically clean house, feed my family and work in the yard when I was a worker bee.  We had clean clothes and clean dishes too. We took trips and Nort and I had date nights.   How did I go from getting everything done in the hours I had then to it taking all my retired time to do the same basic chores.  What happened to me?  I have always been prone to being a giant slug, (actually, I’ve always admired the sloth, how cool are they) but this was ridiculous.  Granted, I essentially did deep, spring cleaning on the house with all my new free time.  I cleaned out closets and cabinets (man, was that ever scary) and rearranged things that seriously needed it.

I also mastered the art of making a roux and perfected my gumbo, you know, important things that do take time.  Then, slowly and subtly like some sort of evil fog, I got sucked into the inability to get anything done in a more or less timely manner.  I could spend the whole day merely making the bed, straightening up the house and washing one load of clothes.  Then I had to hustle to fix dinner before eight.  And still hadn’t lunched with the ladies, done any sewing/knitting/crafting, or made any cocktails.  How do my friends do it?  Facebook pages are full of lunches, shopping, travel and crafts.  And, I’ve been to their houses.  No sinks of dirty dishes, beds unmade and piles of laundry.  And they are actually dressed, with hair and makeup done!  How, how, how?  Is there some sort of secret that I’ve not been privy to, a special code of conduct, a genetic trait I’ve missed?  You know who you are, please tell me!

Apparently, I am one of those people who must have a deadline or time limit in order to get anything done.  If I have to be at work by 8:30 and know I’ll be there until at least 6:30, then I know I have to get my arse up, dressed, bed made and so forth.  Then, better be ready with my grocery list so I don’t waste time on the way home so I can actually get dinner ready in time to clean up afterward and do a little picking up.

Now don’t get me wrong, since I’m married to Mr. Perfect, he actually enjoys cooking so it is not like a seven day a week cooking thing and he is capable of putting dishes in the dishwasher.  But still, I had a routine that kept us from being the next TLC hit show  (Oh my gosh!  Have you watched some of that stuff?  It sucks you in and rots your brain, but so addictive, just like crack only socially acceptable). I do have friends who have been fully retired for years and they have mastered leading full and active lives.  I have friends who have been retired for a relatively short period who never seem to sit still and travel and do all sorts of wonderful things.  But I my friends, am a wasted days and nights person.  If I don’t have a big old nudge, I will emulate the sloth.

Now that I have done all this work (and made up my bed) I think I deserve a nice little couch time and some TV watching.  Let me know how you conquered (if you have) your wasted days.  Leave me a comment and I’ll promise to sympathize.