The fair. Oh, the fair. It is sparse and thick, at the same time. I got two free tickets this year. (The fairgrounds adjoin my street, which means lots of noise and traffic. Some years I find an envelope in my mailbox with free tickets, and some years I don't.) This afternoon, I went.
- I caught the very end of the youth talent show auditions, which featured a group from Holyoke called Scarlet Sky, playing loud rock and doing a head-shaking near head-banging thing in choreographed unison in their black t-shirts and studded belts. I only saw the big finish, but liked both their rebellious attitudes and the open way they hugged their moms when they were done. The drummer (I think) had a skull cap with a row of little skull and crossbones painted on it, another had what looked like spats -- one black and white checked and one pink with patterns -- over his keds. The one woman had a streaked shag, a resurrection t-shirt, and bandannas -- come to think of it, the spats could have been made of bandannas, too.
I was making notes on my yellow pad as I made all of these fashion observations (it's a little slow at the fair; I'd brought a book about Mrs. Dickens' recipes, too), when the young woman's mom called over to me across the folding chairs, "Hey, are you drawing?"
I was startled, but held up the page to show her. "I'm writing."
"Oh. She thought you were drawing her." At the same time, her daughter said, "I was like, whoa." She sounded a little impressed by the idea of being drawn, despite being in a rock n roll band. The fact that it was writing, not drawing, meant that there were no further questions.
- I am seriously starting to recognize the line dancers in their black skirts, white shirts, fringed shawls and black boots. A few are my size, and I'd say most are my age or older. They came on after the youth talent show auditions. I wonder if, one year, they'll start to recognize me.
- I had a delicious golumpki. I also had a small chocolate milkshake at the dairy barn from the 4-H. The shake, not to be confused with a frappe, has gone up to $1 after many years of being fifty cents.
- There was wrestling in front of the grandstand. New this year. I only watched a bout or two, but before they started, the burly bald guy in charge stood in the little padded ring and announced that the world of wrestling had lost a great because Walter Kowalski died this morning. He said that some of the wrestlers in the troupe had studied with him, and he called them all out of the dressing room to stand in around the ring in a moment of silence. It was clearly sincere, and made the weird and probably pretty hard-to-do dance of the wrestling that followed seem all the more strange.
- I caught just a little of the good polka band in the music tent (same one as last year), with its following of dancers, most notably, as I watched, an elegant old man. The polka band took a break, so I wandered off to the beer shed, where the Soul Sensations, who had excellent voices and were working hard in this way that I love in musicians at the Three County Fair, were singing "Bad Girls," one of those disco songs from the peak of my yearning youth, when I definitely would have made spats out of bandannas if only I'd thought of it.