After my trip to the fair, I just couldn’t get enough small town life. To satisfy my next fix, my grandfather, sister, niece and I attended a parade in Tioga Pa. (For my non-local friends, I’m pretty sure about 212 people live in Tioga. They have no traffic lights, 1 gas station, 1 grocery store and some grass.)
We were told the parade was to begin at 6:00. The parade route was approximately 2/3 of a mile long, so I didn’t expect to be there past 6:15. Naturally we heard the first beats of the marching band at 6:35. They don’t really rush around these parts.
The highlights of the parade included:
- The floats/fire trucks/tractors/bands all came along approximately 5 minutes apart. This created a parade that lasted close to 90 minutes. The parade had 4 floats and 21 tractors.
- Those throwing candy chose to throw overhand. Also, there must be a surplus of tootsie rolls in Tioga because that’s the only kind of candy that seemed to be thrown. Maybe I should be glad. Jolly Ranchers coming at you at that speed could do some real damage.
- There was a group of adults behind us drinking a mystery beverage out of red plastic cups. That mystery beverage smelled a lot like that guy that harassed my friend and I at Dunkin’ Donuts. I had the urge to rack up the cups and start throwing ping pong balls.
- One of the four floats had somebody dressed as a giant beaver. [Insert your own giant beaver joke here.]
Mama Don’t Allow No Sheep’s Drinkin’ Round Here (Pt. II) -or – Why I’ll Never Be A County Fair Princess
If you are just joining in the fun today, be sure to read Pt. I first.
All done? Great. Let’s continue…
As our tour of the fair continued, we came upon the bingo tent. Bingo is my favorite fair activity so I grabbed my sister, brother (in-law) and we all found seats. A man smoking a cigarette and drinking a giant mountain dew came up to collect our money. We were later told that the man was called “Bingo Bob.” Of course he was.
Bingo Bob did not wander through the crowd of bingo players as the game commenced. He just kind of leaned over the table we were playing at and watched. It was a little intimidating. I had 9 bingo squares to attend to and I was just waiting for one of Bob’s sausage fingers to point to a number I had missed. I quickly found out that I didn’t need to worry about missing numbers…Bob had me covered. We were in the midst of a very intense jackpot round when we heard somebody in the front call “Bingo!” Bob quickly sprang into action, cleared the chips off one of my cards and yelled “Bingo! Here too!”
I looked at my sister, puzzled. I didn’t have bingo. Bob had rigged the game! My prize? 2 white plastic chips. I set them to the side and continued to the next game. Good news…won again! This time I had my choice of prizes: 30 minutes of free bingo or 2 coupons. I didn’t know what the coupons were for, but I figured whatever it was, it must be better than 30 minutes of rigged bingo.
Deciding that we should quit while we’re ahead, we cleared off our bingo cards and went to cash in my 2 white chips and 2 coupons. In my head, 2 white chips + 2 coupons = something awesome!!
I got a plastic bird feeder. I have to go buy bird seed today.
This was proving to be a pretty eventful trip so we met up with the rest of the family to rest and listen to music for a few minutes. We were lucky enough to catch the Midlife Cowboys playing “Mama Don’t Allow No Guitar Playing Around Here.” They put on a fun show and that song will now be in my head for 2 months. One of the fair princesses was also enjoying the music. She had on a beautiful dress…and steel toed work boots. It’s a good thing I wasn’t crowned princess, I don’t own any boots.
No trip to the fair is complete without trying to win a goldfish. The game never changes, toss the ping pong ball into the fishbowl and win a fish. 6 balls for $1 or 15 balls for $2. After my awesome showing at bingo I was feeling confident enough to just put $1 down. I lost. I tried to convince the man running the booth that if I gave him another dollar I should be able to get 9 balls instead of 6, since $2 got you 15 balls altogether. He said he didn’t think I understood how it worked. I don’t think he understood that I knew I was cheating the system, but if Bingo Bob was going to let me get away with blatant cheating, I didn’t see why he couldn’t bend the rules just a little. No gold fish for me. It’s just as well. I don’t have a very solid history of taking care of pets.
On our way back to the car my brother spotted a ride that he decided would be fun. I usually have a strict no-ride policy, but hot off the disappointment of not winning a goldfish my judgment was clouded. We got in line for the ride just as the last group of people were getting off. I didn’t really see the ride in action, but so many small children were exiting the ride that I decided it couldn’t be that intense. My brother and I got into one of the cars, pulled the metal bar over our laps for safety and I held on tight. The ride took off and I was pleasantly surprised. We were not that high off of the ground, and were not going very fast, just a leisurely float.
That lasted about 10 seconds.
Quickly, the cars rose up high in the air and the car started creaking. Not a slight creak. A “we’re going to fall off of this ride and break our legs,” creak. I started getting angry with my brother for suggesting the ride. He clearly wanted us to get hurt. Just as I started yelling at him for having this terrible idea the ride started to move up and down! It was too much and I was holding on to the bar so tightly that my knuckles were white. Apparently my arm muscles were pretty tense because even now, 2 days later, I have a hard time lifting them over my head.
Who knew the fair could be so eventful? Did anybody else see anything worth sharing at the fair this week?
This morning I woke up to two aching arms. The dull pain started at the base of my neck, went through my shoulders and rested at my biceps. I haven’t been doing any strength training, so naturally I assumed that I must have heart disease or some degenerative muscle condition.
Scrolling through the list of possibilities on WebMD I started thinking about all the things I wouldn’t be able to enjoy anymore if my muscles all started seizing up like this. Strolling through the mall, chasing after my niece, my days of adventure would be over! And then it hit me. My muscles weren’t sore for any medical reason, unless stupidity counts. My muscles were sore from one, very poor decision that I made yesterday. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
Yesterday my family decided to take a trip to the Tioga county fair. I was undecided as to whether or not I wanted to go, fairs have never really been my thing, but who am I to pass up a chance to play bingo while drinking a peach milkshake?
When we arrived we were greeted by the typical fair sights and sounds. Rides that look questionably safe at best, multiple food trailers with burgers and French fries, barns filled with animals and baked goods, a dozen game booths with unappealing prizes and a large sign announcing free Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi? Are people bringing their netbooks to the fair these days? We can’t wait until we get home to update our Facebook status with our opinion of the demolition derby winners? I’m all about progress in this area but I think this is a classic case of pick your battles. We do not need Wi-Fi at the county fair, or at Pudgie’s, the local pizza place. There is a large banner outside the Pudgie’s in town advertising free Wi-Fi to its patrons. I couldn’t imagine somebody going to Pudgie’s for a solo evening of pizza and blogging. I did see one man enter Pudgie’s with a laptop case last week, so maybe I underestimate the power of free Wi-Fi. Actually, maybe I should have said hello. If I see him again I’ll have to pay attention to what he orders, if he’s a woodchuck fan he might be my soul mate. (Woodchuck the beverage, not woodchuck the animal, it’s sad I have to clarify these things now that I live in Pa.)
After making it through the fair entrance, we went straight for the food. Eating is definitely the highlight of any trip like this. I had a delicious peach milkshake made by a local Christian school group and sampled the food that my family ordered. I would rather have a bite of 8 different things than a burger or slice of pizza of my own, variety being the spice of life and all.
Once we were finished eating, it was time to tour the barn animals. There aren’t a lot of interesting things to report about rows of sheep and bunnies and cows. I did notice two things that were a little off. First was the sign at the entrance announcing that there could be no alcoholic beverages in the stables. Part of me wants to ask what prompted that sign, rational thinking tells me I’m better off not knowing. The next thing that struck me as odd was the giant poster showing all of the meat cuts that come from the various animals you are looking at. I’m far from vegetarian, but looking at a cow and looking at a picture of rib eyes right next to the cow made me a little sad.
Come back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of my trip to the fair. You will find out why I am a bingo superstar, how not to win a goldfish and I’ll finally reveal what I did to make my arms hurt so badly.
Greetings from Texas!
It’s my first time in Texas and I have seen stars everywhere! Not stars like Jim Carrey and Uma Thurman. Stars like – “Oh hi y’all, did you forget you were in the Lone Star State? You did? Well, let us put stars on every store, bridge and road sign to remind you!”
Texans are very proud of their state. At the airport we saw many cars that were specifically “Texas Edition”. It made me wonder what a “Pennsylvania Edition” car would look like. Even better, I wonder what a “Massachusetts Edition” car would look like, an extra big horn so they could honk more easily?
One thing that I would’ve hoped I’d be better at by now is packing. I lived in Massachusetts for a year and half and traveled often between my home there and my home in Pennsylvania with my family. Even on long weekends I use a giant suitcase to travel when I should only need a few things. A linebacker could fit in my suitcase.
As I packed for a whole week in Texas, I knew it was going to be a problem from the get-go. I can never pick things to leave behind, and usually end up bringing outfits I haven’t worn in years, “just in case.” Looking back I probably didn’t need any of the sweaters; there are no cold nights here. I also didn’t need 12 white camisoles. I’m just always afraid of a spill! It might be time to invest in a tide-to-go pen. That would cut my suitcase volume in half.
Apparently TSA was concerned about my packing abilities too. When we arrived at the place we were staying and I opened my suitcase, it was destroyed. Don’t worry though; TSA left me a nice little note explaining they felt the need to check my suitcase for security precautions. I didn’t notice anything missing, I guess they decided that my hair gel and nail file were harmless.
***Edit: I was just informed that a Pennsylvania style car does exist. It’s called a buggy.
Ahhh, home sweet home. One big difference between my life in MA and my life in PA is Walmart. In MA I have access to any and every store I need, and can get to them in under 20 minutes. Being home is nothing like that. There is 1 Walmart 25 minutes away from my parents abode and anything else takes a grand trip to the mall. A grand 1 hour trip to the mall. Rarely is there something that you need so badly that you will take an unplanned drive to grander shopping centers – so on a day like today, Walmart it is.
While today’s trip was pretty uneventful, my last venture in MA did not go as well. Here is the copy of the email I sent out shortly upon my return:
I went to Walmart tonight to get some party hats for the graduation
tomorrow. Just the cone shapes birthday party hats. My trip goes a
little something like this:
I go to the Hanover store and as soon as I walk in I realize that I
have no idea where to find the birthday party supplies. Its 7:00. I’m
tired and hungry and not in the mood to scour a place with cement
floors and fluorescent lighting looking for cardboard cones with
elastic chin straps, so I find the nearest employee.
Me: Hi there, where can I find the party hats?
Employee #1: ummmm….in the birthday party section.
Me: Ok, makes sense, where might that be?
Employee #1: (looking around) ummm….near the cards and balloons??
Me: Uh-huh. Where are they?
Employee #1: (looking around, now visibly uncomfortable. I check her
name tag, she’s been “servicing with a smile” for 2 years)
Me: Ok, no problem. I’ll find them, thanks for your help.
Luckily I stumble upon party looking things pretty quickly, but the
aisles are a mess!! I sift through the things for a minute but I’m so
over the task at this point. I see a lady walk by in the tell-tale
navy shirt and khaki’s, so I flag her down:
Me: Excuse me, miss?
Employee #2: (Clearly did not want to be stopped on her way to what
I’m assuming is the break room to eat her 7:15 snack) Yes?
Me: Where would I find the party hats?
Employee #2: In the party section.
Me: Where would that be?
Employee #2: (Points to the section I just came from, I was afraid of
Me: And there are party hats there?
Employee #2: I don’t know, have you looked through the stuff?
Me: Well…I skimmed it….
Employee #2: Ok, well that’s what we have.
The 8 hour drive went fairly quickly yesterday. I think it helped that I had just downloaded a handful of ‘Glee’ songs and had an entire day to belt them out and
nobody to hear me. I learned that there is a very fine art to singing in the car, you can’t just start out with the heavy hitters like Celine and Christina. You work your way up. My succession of singers goes something like Taylor Swift > Elton John > Adele. Bam! By the end of the trip my rendition of “Rolling in the Deep” made me feel like a souped up F150. Loud and powerful. Maybe The Boyfriend will let me sing the National Anthem at his next game.