August 18, 2007
I’ve been busy again, and slow at blogging. I finished revisions on book four, this week, and am temporarily free to clear my head and go on to the next project.
So yesterday, we celebrated by going to the county fair.
This is not state fair quality stuff. It’s kind of like a toy version of the really big fairs where you can get the deep fired twinkies, dill pickles, and fired Coca Cola (it’s a type of funnel cake). But I feel we can hold our own. There are midway rides (probably not dangerous) food in close proximity to manure (slightly dangerous) games of skill (rigged) and a tattoo and piercing stand (taking your life in your hands).
#1 son was at work until 7:00, and we gave him instructions to meet us at the grandstand show. Then the rest of the family took off for the fair. #1 missed the sight of my bending to family pressure. I only insisted we go though half of the livestock barns.
This has been a point of contention in the family ever since the year that 16 yr old #1 son, who was then about 7, stepped in a cow pie with open-toed sandals. This cured him forever of any fascination with barn animals.
But I like to look at them. It fulfills any desire I might have to own them, if I can walk amongst them once or twice a year. I’m particularly fond of bunnies, where we walk down the aisle and separate them into two categories: “Can kick Mohawk’s ass” and “definitely cat food”.
Mohawk likes rabbits. So much so that, the year we naively had a cat door, he would bring them into the house and eat them, in our bedroom, as we were trying to sleep.
The chickens are in the same barn as the bunnies. This year there was a breed of poultry, described unspecifically as “English pullet” that got lumped into the ass-kicking class with the large rabbits. This thing would make my feral cat hide under the bed for the rest of his life.
I skipped most of the cows, this year and went ride for the sheep and hog barn to look for my favorite sheep: the Jacobs. Jacobs are tiny things, as compared to other sheep, and spotted like Holstein cows. If you knit, you can blend the yarn to get white black, brown, grey, or purple, without even having to dye it. They are excellent for trimming yards (one of their original purposes was yardwork at manor houses) because they eat weeds and nibble but don’t rip. And they have multiple sets of horns. Up to 3 pair, shooting out in all directions.
There are crazy, mutant, cow-sheep.
There was one lamb. The woman who owned it was cuddling it, and assuring me that she had 70 sheep, and that these are no harder to take care of than dogs.
And then I remembered our dog. The geriatric retriever. And imagined 70 of him. Fuzzy little cow-sheep, dotting the hillside, all crying “Ow. My hip.”
No sheep for me.
But the best part came at 8:00. The grandstand show was Alice Cooper.
In the 70’s and 80’s, I was a very nice girl, and completely missed the chance to rock out. I listened to Barry Manilow, Olivia Newton John, and Glenn Miller (I was retro). But I do remember seeing part of the “Welcome to my Nightmare” stage show on ABC, late on a Friday night. It was narrated by Vincent Price.
And I was the same age as #2 son is now.
So I told the kids we had to go see Alice.
#2 son said, “We are not worthy!”
The DH was being a good sport, and saying very little.
And #1 son would have to meet us there.
He arrived in the nick of time, as the show was barely starting, and said, “I COULD have joined the County Fair Mosh Pit. But I am sitting with my FAMILY in the nose-bleed section.”
I told him he was a good boy, and that aging rockers really look better from way up there, since it’s scary to see them up close.
He told me he could see just fine, and that the problem was with my eyes. This was probably true of a lot of the audience. Since, although he was cutting edge in 1975, last night moms and dass brought their toddlers, and grandpa and grandma brought the grandkids (or in some cases, just their Zippos).
But Alice Cooper can still rock. There was no indication that he was embarrassed to be playing a county fair in the middle of nowhere. He was not too wasted to remember the words to his own songs, and not too fat to wear his goth clothes (like that poor guy from Kiss. Kabuki paint and tight leather is not a good look, when you hit 250 pounds). He can still spin a cane without dropping it or poking himself in the eye.
And he sang “Eighteen” while leaning on a crutch. Clearly, the man has a sense of humor.
He paced. He raved. He wrestled with mannequins. He sang about dad babies, and tossed a doll around the stage. And then he escaped from a straight jacket, was recaptured, and hung on a gallows.
No guillotine. But close enough I suppose. It’s been 32 years, and you can’t be picky about the mock execution if you’re paying $9 to see a bus and truck tour.
And he sang “I wanna be Elected” as one of his oncores, causing #2 son to announce:
“He could be the first president to escape from a straight jacket since Abraham Lincoln.”
(Sometimes I think #2 son is actually Emo Philips)
It was all dark and weird, and an impressively good show. Proof to my kids that Marylin Manson didn’t invent this schtick and Metallica didn’t invent screaming guitar solos.
And in the end, Alice introduced the back-up dancer in the bridal gown, that he’d been mock slapping earlier, as:
His daughter, Calico Cooper.
Causing #1 son to announce, “Now THAT’s just creepy.”