Tuesday, September 7, 2010
The Forge of Memory
The State Fair dominated the week, beginning with the parade on Saturday morning, ending with the way-past-bedtime stroll through the midway Friday night. I grew up going to the Iowa State Fair (as well as various county fairs), and now, decades later, the best bits are pretty much unchanged. The Tilt-A-Whirl (the girls ran to hux afterward yelling "Daddy didn't puke!" which would make an excellent tee shirt). Six separate rides on the bumper cars. Corn dogs and funnel cakes. Sheep and cows and roosters and petting zoos, yada, yada, yada.
The memorable piece came at the very end, and was memorable primarily for what did not happen. Friday night was packed, and the line for the bungee jump was long, so we saved it for the very end. Took over an hour to get to the front, and you'd expect that to be a recipe for full tilt whining and are-we-there-yet level boredom. And yet. The bungee jump itself was almost an afterthought. Three girls were in front of us, and our girls talked and played with them the entire time. It helped that the eldest was fourteen, making her a Rock Star in the eyes of our own girls. Helpful as well was the summer night, the hint of the coming fall in the air, the bright lights of the midway, the flirting teenagers, the smell of the corn dogs and the funnel cakes, the clamor of the sideshows and the crowd and the creaking machinery. They all conspired to push the moment out of the ordinary, into the bright alchemical forge of memory.