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You’re Not As Young As You Used To Be

September 7, 2006


Last week was the annual Polk County Fair. Jack looks forward to this event…just as I always did when I was a kid. So, in spite of all my misgivings, I pulled myself together and took the boy to the fair…all the while reminiscing of “days gone by.”

While there was a lot of things that are still just the same as it always was…I pray that some of what I saw is much different than when I was a kid. How it happened I do not know, but it seems every young person in the Benton area (who attended the fair) has become way too attached to the color black and facial hardware. The oddest thing about it all was that even though they sported the Gothic look, the chewing tobacco and/or “dip” in their mouth told me that they were still deeply rooted in their “family traditions.”

In any event, we walked about the fair and I stood around while Jack rode the rides. He wanted to throw darts at balloons but the price was $3.00 per dart…and I remarked that was a ridiculous price…to which the “carnie” informed me, “Hey lady…every thing is $3.00 including gas…get over it.”

So rather than get into a “spitting” match with a burly gal with too many tatoos and muscles bulging from her tight tank top…I opted to continue my meandering around the fairgrounds.

We walked inside the showbard where there are always a wide range of booths. And we went into the side area to check out the animals on display. Much to our disappointment, the only animals on display were chickens. Fancy as they were with their feathers all fluffed and their toes manicured…we were looking for something more furry and petable.

So with the intent for one last sachet through the midway before an impending thunderstorm rolled in, Jack rode a few more rides. I had been “people watching” all night and had seen a few folks with whom I went to school.

We exchanged cordialities…as we passed…and I’m assuming that they were thinking the same thing that I was thinking. “My…she is beginning to show her age.”

Of course, I wasn’t thinking that about myself…or at least I had not intended to. But, having to ride the Scrambler with Jack…and recognizing that the bar that held us in the seat fit way much snugger that it used to…really put a bummer on my own self esteem.

Seeing the children of my classmates…or should I say, seeing the grandchildren of some of my classmates also added to my declining demeanor.

Then as I was standing near the Swings…while Jack was going, round and round…I turned my head and saw one of my old beaus standing there…looking quite frustrated.

I said, “Well, Hello Kenneth Wayne.”  (Yes, he went by both names…and you had to say them really fast together…so that it almost sound like you were saying “KennyWayne”)

He responded with the same…”Hello Carole.”

I asked him what he was doing and he informed me that he was frustrated because he could not find his 16 year old daughter and expected that she was somewhere in a parked car with a boy.

Same old Kenny Wayne.

I tried to ease his troubled mind a bit…but one could tell that he didn’t exactly trust his young daughter. Soon enough, she popped in to our conversation…and I could tell that he has good reason for his misgivings. Still, I tried to keep a positive spin on the situation.

She scooted off again…much to his chagrin…and I tried to console him and offer a bit of friendly and (experienced) advice that his best defense for and with his daughter was to make sure that she knew that he loved her unconditionally…and to help her learn to respect herself.

Yeh, he blew that off like nobody’s business.

Anyway, seeing KW brought back those old Polk County memories…and a smile to my face as I recalled the days of yesteryear.

Soon enough, Jack was done with his ride on the Swings…and KW had his daughter back in tow. Suddenly, buckets of rain dropped from the sky and we all started to run to our cars.

I didn’t notice that I was running alongside KW…until I heard him say to his daughter…”Come on, Sarah!”

She shouted back at him…”I’m not sugar. I won’t melt.”

And before I knew, out of my mouth flew the words, “No…but he will.”

Geez! I can’t believe I was flirting with Kenneth Wayne right there in the middle of a downpour. It made him stop his running and turn his head and look at me like, “Is she flirting with me?”

But there was nothing I could do to take it back…so I just kept running and jumping the gulleys until I got to the car. All in all, this whole race to the car took about three minutes and by the time I got in it, I was soaked to the bone.

We went on to my mom’s house and as I got out of the car and started walking up to the house, she noticed I was limping.

“What did you do?” she asked me.

Well…it would not have surprised her in the least for me to go in to the whole schpiel about chattin’ up a guy and then chasing tail through the parking lot at the fair…

It would have been “deja vu” for her too…from my former glory days as a teenager.

But instead, I just told her that we had to run to the car and my poor arthritic ankle can’t handle the pounding on a dry day much less in the slippery mud.

She just shook her head and advised, “You’re not as young as you used to be.”


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