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One more day- article from High Plains Midwest/AG Journal

Author: Kristy

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Late tonight, in a shadowy livestock barn at a county fairgrounds near you, if you are very quiet, you’ll see a group of parents sitting in lawn chairs and on show boxes around a large orange jug labeled “Cowboy Lemonade.”

 

The cattle will have been tied out. The pigs and goats will have been checked one last time. The children will be asleep in the air-conditioned campers, in vain hopes they’ll rise and shine the next morning for the livestock sale and the tearful goodbyes of the last day of fair.

It’s just the parents, in their scuffed boat shoes and their untucked and sweaty pearl snap shirts covered in calf snot and other unidentifiable animal stains, and their thousand-yard stares.

These are the adult survivors of The Fair.

They’ve almost made it across the finish line. Just one more day of hot and crabby children, over-sugared on fair food and dizzy from carnival rides. One more day of fighting that Angus steer that your daughter calls “My Boo,” and you privately call “Satan’s Minion.” One more day of juggling the schedules of three children who have to monitor the inside exhibits, volunteer at the concession stand and still manage to find time to draw you into their petty childhood bickering. One more day of quick cold-water showers in the camper and trying to feed a family of five with a two-burner stove and a microwave.

These brave survivors sit in a circle and slowly start to share their stories, in hopes of starting the healing process.

“I gave our 17-year-old daughter one job: drive 45 minutes into town to check in projects with her two younger siblings. What does she do? She forgot her two younger siblings’ LEGO creations—AND one of the younger siblings. She had one job!”

“I swear, I told that boy a thousand times, if you don’t get your photos sorted out, we’re not going to have time to print and mount them right before judging. And I’m not kidding, you won’t have anything to be judged. And what did I end up doing? Making a midnight run to Walgreens to print out photos the night before judging. It was like Smokey and the Bandit.”

“That steer, Steve. That steer, he’s out to get me, man. I swear, he’s a puppy with the girl. But when I get near him he head butts me. I can’t touch his flanks in the chute. He has shark eyes. I tell you what, I’m not shedding a tear when that fella takes the one-way ride tomorrow.”

“I take vacation days for this every year. This is not a vacation. A vacation includes umbrella drinks on a beach. Not ice tea and the smell of pig barns.”

Eventually, sometime around 1 a.m., the group therapy session quiets down. The big cooler has been emptied. Parents start the slog back to the campers in prep for the chaos of the Last Day of The Fair in the morning—the goodbyes and the tears. Moms and dads who four hours before swore “never again” are now thinking “well, maybe one more year.”

Everyone’s been talked off the ledge yet again.

Well, for one more day, anyway

 

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