Today we are having fun.
We are at the Tennessee State Fair: myself, my husband Bill, and the kids who still remain here at home. It is not the same without the kids who have flown the coop, but hopefully they'll be with us in spirit.
One good thing though: we've already saved a bundle of money by not having the extra kids here (Johnathon, Ronee', Stephanie, Dwerlina, Barbara, Richard, etc.). That means more money in our pockets ... that is, if I don't end up losing the money on the rides first! LOL
Bill has been having fun watching the kids scamper from ride to ride and exhibit to exhibit. I have been shuttling kids to and from the rides, often joining them on the ride. The height or "scare factor" doesn't bother me one iota: I may be a grandma, but I am young at heart and I love those gut-busting, stomach-churning, vomit-inducing rides as much as I did when I was a kid. Now that my back problems are a thing of the past, I can be thrown around and strapped in and scream with absolute joy!
Poor Bill has never really handled those spinning, head-over-heel type rides; he's always had a problem with getting spun around like an egg in a blender. He would rather watch than ride (but more han once I have seen his face turn a lovely shade of apple green as he watches his wife and kids get slung around on those wild rides!).
Even Jodie got "brave": she ended up riding the Top Spin ride with me earlier today. She laughed and screamed (and drooled all over me and the ride). Her eyes sparkled with daring and I could tell she was having the time of her life. The ride operator looked dubious when he saw me carrying her as we stood in line, but I told him that it was okay; I would hang onto her tightly; I did and there were no problems. Jodie enjoyed herself immensely.
When the ride was over, Jodie nodded her head and chortled: "Do it 'gain! Do it 'gain! Dat was fun, Mama!" She was laughing to beat the band.
During one of my ride excusions, I met a lady who was with a group of Veterans from a local nursing facility; she was a US Veteran of the Marine Corps. She lost both legs, but she still wanted to ride the rides; she said she and her buddies got a day's pass from the nursing home staff and the lady said that she was going to ride every damn ride at the fair. The lady's name was Kimberli Jo Duplechain. She was in her early fifties, a little older than me. Like me, she was a Cajun, born in Gonzales, Louisiana ("The Jambalaya Capitol Of The World").
Kimberli was a hoot. She had me laughing so hard with her spirit and spunk; she said it felt good to let it all hang out and not worry about doctors, pills, shot needles, or pain. (Turns out she had been in the hospital for over a year; she was in the nursing home for rehab; right now her future was in doubt, but she wanted nothing more than to return home to Louisiana; she was missing it real bad, she told me).
I met Kimberli's friends; they all adopted me as their "surrogate mamma". They took to me when they found out that my daddy is a Veteran of the Army Air Corps and that I have friends who are Veterans or took care of Veterans during my career as a nurse. They said any friend of Kimberli's was a friend of theirs. The Veterans were all adorable and I hated to leave them when I realized it was high time for me to get back to my family, who were probably waiting for me at the lunch court.
After the family had met up for lunch, we ate and hung around for an hour while Bill and I listened to their adventures-on-the-midway stories; the kids were hopped up on sugar and sodas; I knew that pretty soon I would have to limit their sugar intake or they would be impossible to deal with. They were wound up and more than once, I had to keep reminding them to behave.
When the hour and a half was up, Bill and I set them off on their ride excursion (Round Two!), with the older, or more able-bodied, kids watching over the littler ones or those who were more involved in regards to their physical disabilities/health issues. We told them to watch their money and to be careful, while at the same time, wished them an afternoon of fun. Then it was just us, meaning Bill, myself, Jodie, Todd, Akihiko, Roberto, Enriquesa, Andre', and Camille.
Now Bill, myself, and the gang sit and wait, watching the midway action; once in a while, we see a familar figure (or two, or maybe three or four) dashing to and from one ride to the other, smiles plastered upon their tanned faces, taking in the last gasp of summer vacation before shcool starts back up on Tuesday of next week. Later, I will be riding the rides once again as I put Bill, Sunshine Lee, Andre', and Enriquesa in charge of the littler kids in our care while I let off some steam on some of the more wilder rides. I always do this and it truly does help. By the time I'm done riding, I feel like a little girl all over again.
We will probably be eating by six/six thirty before heading to the grandstand, where Belton Richard and his Musical Aces will be performing; after Belton it's BeauSolell, the Greatest Cajun Band In The Land. I'll probably end up dancing later; I never can keep still when I hear that groovin' Cajun sound! It's going to be a fun evening; I can't hardly wait!!
~Louisiana Sandusky, September 1, 2012, Nashville, Tennessee.