Tuesday, August 29, 2006

We're going to the fair!

You can take the girl out of Iowa but you can't take Iowa out of the girl. Now, my DH will deny I'm from Iowa. Being a born Minnesotan, there is no way he'll ever admit that his wife has any connection to Iowa. He'll tell people I was born in California (true) but he'll omit the fact that I lived my entire life from the age of 2 until we moved to Minnesota in 1989 in Iowa.

Now, I was ignorant of the border war that was raging between Minnesota and Iowa when I met and married my husband. In fact, I think it was a war that exists only on the Minnesota side of the border. When my husband and I got engaged, we were both living in Iowa (a shameful fact my DH will not disclose to most people) and we were invited to an engagement brunch at a friends house in Minnesota while visiting my future in-laws. Little did I know that it really was a roast. When I arrived, the sweetest lady in the world greeted me. She was the mother of one of my DH's best friends and the best man at our wedding. This woman actually kissed my 8 month pregnancy-distended tummy 5 years later, that's how sweet and loving she is. We were ushered in and seated at a graciously appointed table and I was overwhelmed by the grandeur of it all. Then her husband and all the rest of the guests joined us, hubby's high school buddies and their respective girlfriends and/or wives. And the festivities began. It wasn't long before the Iowa jokes started flying and things degenerated into a Comedy Central Shatner-style Roast. And this poor lady who had gone to so much trouble to make this brunch special was sitting at the head of the table blushing and hemming and gently trying to rein in her more raucous guests and I'm sitting there, wide-eyed and flabbergasted, completely side-swiped by the revelation of the hostilities between states of which I was completely unaware.

Needless to say, my DH got a job in Minnesota as soon as he possibly could, and has buried the fact that he married an Iowa girl in oblivion and has tried to live his life as fully and happily between the obligatory visits to my family in Iowa.

All this to say, you can take the girl out of Iowa but you can't take Iowa out of the girl and part of that Iowa-ness is a passion for the going to the fair. I wasn't a farm girl but I was a member of 4H for a few years and I did compete in a couple fairs. But growing up in a small town with not much to do for entertainment, the county fair was big excitement. And I can't help but remember with fondness, looking forward to the fair. The excitement of meeting friends and wandering up and down the midway, riding rides, getting taken by the hucksters at the games, occasionally winning a cheap stuffed animal, eating all that artery-clogging fried food and sugary goodness. Wandering through the animal barns and wondering at the farm geeks that cared so much to try and win prizes for pigs, for Pete's sake, while sneaking over to the 4H building and sneaking a peek at my cross-stitch to see my 2nd place ribbon, disappointed that it wasn't blue. If you were lucky, you might meet a boy by the end of the night, go on a few rides with him and get a kiss good night before going home, tired, coated with grease, dust and sugar and blissfully unaware of the grime.

Now, Minnesota has, arguably, one of the nation's best state fairs. I don't get into the rides anymore and I'm too smart to get taken by the hucksters at the games but I'm excited to take my kids and introduce them to the fair. They have a Miracle of Birth Barn this year, where expectant animals are giving birth on a daily basis, so we'll get to seen new baby animals. I'm hoping to take the kids to an Pet Surgery demo at the Pet Center, since my oldest is planning to study Veterinary Medicine. Of course, the Creative Activities Annex, where the quilt and fiber arts exhibits are is at the top of the list will be visited, as well as the alpaca and llama and sheep barns. And my kids will want to do a few rides and play a few games (hopefully we can find a few true chance/non-huckster type).

I'm bringing my camera and will post a few pictures. Since I'm almost done with my second Flying Purple Widdershin, should I take pictures with it, as an homage to our favorite blogger, the Yarn Harlot?

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