I remember going to the Fair as a kid back on the farm by Leota.  The county fairs.  Nobles, Pipestone, Murray, Rock.

It was a major deal!  Dad and Mom would go through the farm barns, the cattle, the hogs, the sheep.  The cages of chickens, rabbits, hamsters.  But the big deal?  I mean the nirvana of the fair?

The midway!  The Tilt-A-Whirl, The Scrambler, The Octopus, and of course the Ferris Wheel.  The more they turned, twisted, went higher and higher, the faster the better.  Turn you upside down? You betcha! Spin me, curl me, sling me around.  This is fantastic, I mean it doesn't get any better than this!

Okay then, let's fast forward a few years.  Well, maybe more than a few years.  Oh, half-century or so.

Now that little boy has mystically magically turned into a bald, skinny guy with a new name.  Grandpa Randy.

It was about five or six years ago and I'm back at the Fair, except this one is called the Sioux Empire Fair. Is it bigger than those County Fairs of yesteryear? I suppose, although when you're 8 or 9 years old, those County Fairs were plenty big.

Anyway, now Grandpa Randy has 3 young 'uns with him at the Fair.  There's Lane, he's 10 years old.  His little sister Hailey, she's 9.  And little Sis MacKenna, who's a full fledged 4 years old.

An afternoon at the Fair is a whole new ballgame now. Riding along with 4-year-old MacKenna seems to be going alright.  There's the Merry-Go-Round.  I can handle that.  The little trains and boats.  Oh yeah, Kenna and I can do those just fine, thank you.

But the older 2, Lane and Hailey, well they had reached the age of what I call the 'bigger rides'.  And the conversation with Grandpa Randy goes something like this:

'Grandpa will you go on the Tornado with me?'

'No, I don't think so, you 2 go ahead.'

'Grandpa, will you go on the Hurricane with me?'

'No, I don't think so, you 2 go ahead'.

'Grandpa, will you....'


There was one ride, I don't know what it was called, but I called it the Spinning Whirling Wheel of Death Machine.  There was a line of young folks laughing, waiting in line.

'Grandpa, will you ride that with me?'

'No kids, that one makes Grandpa puke just looking at it.  You 2 go ahead. MacKenna, you want to ride the Merry-Go-Round with Grandpa again?'

MacKenna looks up at Grandpa with eyes that say 'No, 18 rides on the Merry-Go-Round with Grandpa is plenty.'

So finally......finally!...Hailey talked me into a ride called...well, whatever it was called, it was a 'lay-down-spin-around-go-up-go-down-soar-flutter-shake' fun-o-rama.  Yeah it was.  I keep telling myself that.

I tried to hide the terror on my face behind a smile.

The good news: I didn't throw up.  I might have staggered a bit, but that's OK.  Grandpa staggers a bit quite often.

And the Grandkids?  They had a great time!  And that. of course, is what a fair is all about, whether a County fair all those years ago, or the Sioux Empire Fair all those years later.

Plus i was able to lose a few pounds.  My wallet is quite a bit lighter.