Frazzled, Fried, and Fixed at the Fair

“Everyone needs a little time away or so they say.” I think those words are a part of a Paul McCartney song. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”…a nursery rhyme maybe? I know one thing; I need some time off when I start thinking in song lyrics and children’s poems. At that point of mental exhaustion, who knows what may pop into my mind and then out of my mouth? That can be hazardous for a pastor. So, I took Sir Paul’s advice and checked out for a few hours Thursday afternoon and went to the State Fair.

You might be wondering, “What in the name of all that’s sacred would possess you to go to the State Fair? You certainly can’t rest there.” And…you would be right—it’s not a place to sit and meditate. But then again, who said I needed to meditate? Sometimes you just to get away from everything that reminds you of what you do all the time and have a little fun. Besides, most Christians are a little too stiff (rigger mortise) and take themselves far too serious, if you know what I mean.

The State Fair is like stepping into the transporter on the star ship Enterprise and telling Scotty to beam you up. Once inside, I was transported back in time. The smell of Italian sausage, onions, and green peppers sizzling on the grill, hot asphalt simmering in the late evening sun, funnel cakes frying in God only knows what kind of grease, and prize livestock doing what only livestock can do took me back in time thirty-five plus years to another time and another place. “Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind. Sweetened through the ages just like wine”…uh oh, here come the songs lyrics again.

O.K., back to reality, and the reality was I had missed lunch. The Fair is not a safe or economical destination when your appetite is out of control. Strolling hand-in-hand up and down the Midway, we fantasized about what we would eat, munching on a free Southern hors d’oeuvre—a homemade biscuit filled with syrup—as we considered the diversity of the delicacies.

With Steppenwolf’s Born to Be Wild blaring from a ride like elevator Muzak on steroids, we finally settled on corn-on-the-cob dipped in decadent butter, an Italian sausage heavy on mustard and onions, Bops custard, a funnel cake with two scoops of Bavarian crème , and a bottle of water. What a supper! We spent my whole check on the meal, sat in a tent next to a couple of heavily tattooed and pierced women—or men—I don’t know which, and committed gastric suicide.

Light-headed from the grease, we walked through the games of chance or, as I like to call them the games of no chance. “Let me guess your age or your weight—you could be a winner,” shouted an ole boy with a microphone as we tried to slip by. I’m thinking, “Come on buddy, give me a break. There’s no way I’m gonna give you five dollars to tell me that I’m an overweight fat guy sailing through mid-life over the loud speaker for everyone in the state to hear.”

You may wonder where I’m going. Nowhere! That’s the point. Not everything has to be Black Berried, calendared, or notated on a to-do list to be worth doing. Sometimes, you simply need to take a couple of hours and walk through the livestock pavilion and take a couple of deep breaths of what real life smells like. Oh, by the way, pay attention where you step or you may take more of the Fair home with you than you want.

Well, enough of this tale of wonderment and back to the real world. As I lay my head down on the pillow to sleep, my stomach is gently reminding me that the dreams of this day will soon turn to a night of mares.

A word to the wise—live a little, laugh a lot, and eat a few things you’ll be sorry for later.