Two friends and I have gone to the State Fair every year since 1992. EVERY YEAR. We go for one day, usually arriving at 8:00 a.m. and having our first malt at the Dairy Building at 9. Hey, it's a dairy product -- always good for breakfast. That's followed by Tom Thumb Mini-Donuts and lots of people watching.
This year one friend is absent. She's gone off on a mid-life crisis, quitting her job, selling everything, and driving to Florida (long story best told over cheese and w(h)ine). So this year there were 2 of us at the Fair plus 2 other friends who are Sometimes Fair Goers.
It wasn't until I got home that I realized we missed some traditions. We didn't go to the International Bizarre (yes, it is bizarre) to buy a Christmas ornament. Janet always insisted we go there because the best beer was there. Missed it completely.
We didn't buy corn fritters. She loved the corn fritters. We paused, considered, then passed on 'em.
We didn't go in the Grandstand with a million other people and look at the wares being hawked. No Sham-Wow, no Veg-o-Matics, no Recycled Bottles Into Swings. We also didn't queue up in the Education Building to get freebies: pens, bags, visors, etc. Janet was always a good one for the freebies.
And -- travesty of travesties -- we didn't go in the cattle barn. Normally we have to make a pass through the barn to evaluate the livestock but we didn't get there this year.
We did all the other 'traditions' -- inspected the Humiliated Vegetables in the Hort building (those contorted veggies painted to look like...something), checked out the Seed Art (Frank Sinatra in oats was particularly good this year), the Scarecrow competition (some were downright nasty), the corn dogs, onion rings (available from this vendor ONLY at the Fair. The World's Best), roasted corn, and French Fries (it's always good to get the fries early in the Fair run before the grease gets too used).
When I got home I felt like I had *almost* had a Fair outing, but missing those couple of things made me go 'hmm?' Isn't that odd? Who knew it was a tradition? I briefly considered going back for another day, but decided that perhaps we're making new traditions.
Or maybe next year she'll be back, having decided that, really, there's no place like home. Ah. Only time will tell.