Well, I'm back from my week at the Howard County Fair. There were a few days when I wondered if I would even get out of the front yard and there were some days when I feared I wouldn't get out of the front door.

But I packed enough for an army and I loaded it into the truck — pretty much alone to the amazement of all who knew me. Even me.


I got all of that stuff down there and I unloaded the truck — again pretty much alone. When the reinforcements got there (really, how can you get lost on a fairgrounds, I ask you?) they were amazed and got busy with the placement of six tables with tablecloths and runners, numerous card racks, standing art displays and the storing the trunks, chairs and the other important impedimenta underneath the tables. We started to climb up on ladders and were descended upon by helpful tall men from an adjoining booth who — now that I think about it — may not have wanted to have women of a certain age tumbling into their booth through the curtains that passed for walls.

The next day, filled with trepidation, my good friend went off to set up the display while I lounged on the tailgate of the truck and took pictures and wrote feverishly the announced names of those who were involved in a mule pull and then a Coon Mule Jumping contest.

I owe that lady, I really do. The business of being out in public talking to people in a sales position is the stuff of nightmare to her but she stepped up to the plate and did well. Our standing joke is that she needs a tee shirt that reads, "I'm the quiet one." No one needs to even think about getting me a tee shirt because my open nature (read, mouth) is readily apparent in any public situation. I was quite shy as a child. Honest. Hard to believe but there it is.

I only had one human-related problem all of that fair week and it was with the Howard County Police. OK, it was with the stand-up full-sized displays of police officers at work that they had right there beside my booth. The displays had holes cut in them so that adults could hold children up and take their pictures as working officers.

What I learned from those displays is that when a parent holds a small child up in the air so that someone else can take that picture the conversation goes something like this, "Don't kick! NO, REALLY, DON'T KICK!" — pause — "Now, look, you've knocked it down! Gee, are you OK over there?"

But of course, I was not OK over there. At the point that a life size, albeit plastic, officer and his police dog come crashing into a table with card racks and posters the cards and posters inevitably lose. This happened two or three times a day and it was beginning to get on my nerves. But I was good — I smiled even though all of my teeth were clenched together when I did. And I only suggested strongly to the persons who were picking up the kicked over posters that they should hide them far in the back of that booth when the officers were not in evidence.

Other than that it was a really good week — until the heat hit. It was not so bad in the air conditioning but the heat pretty much killed the turnout. No one in their right minds goes to a fair for fun when the heat index is hovering at 110-plus degrees. From what I experienced after the heat hit there are a lot of people who are in their right minds. While that is a good thing from a sociological standpoint it doesn't help the persons who are manning booths at the fair.

There was a bit of grousing among the booth owners, but who can control the weather?

The trips back and forth to the fair in my old non-air conditioned truck weren't pleasant. At 21 years old the truck is not a candidate for an air-conditioning transplant. Normally I would simply not go anywhere either but I was stuck with the job at hand. So I went. I employed the time honored pre air conditioned automobile ploy that is called a "2-60" form of air conditioning. You roll down both windows and go 60 mph.

It is a hot wind but it is wind and it works. Persons with old cars can use the "4-60" model which generates a small interior tornado of even more hot air.

Of course if hot air is what you are after you can always just turn on the television and catch the political reports, can't you?