Sep 25, 2010

Fair Day is Not So Fair for Some

We live within 1,000 miles of the great state of Nebraska, so this Monday our schools are closed for Fair Day. That’s when the farmers and their families take their prized pigs, horses and cows to the local fair. Animals pay the same admission price as a child, but they get to ride the rides for free. I don’t know what else they do there, but apparently a good time is had by all. This year’s motto is “What happens at the Fair Stays at the Fair.”

We’ve never been to the fair, though we’ve lived here ten years, but attending is a long long-standing Midwestern tradition, like hog calling and wearing cowboy boots with those little wheels on the end.

Our family is from New Jersey, so we're at a huge disadvantage in this state. We don’t wear cowboy hats, and we don’t know our way around a farm, a fair or even a pig. The kids at the high school can tie a goat and ride a sheep, but my boys can’t do any of that. They get teased for it.

They’re also the only boys in the whole school district who don’t own livestock. It’s a sensitive subject. People think diversity refers to race, religion or culture. Out here, you’re diverse when you don’t have that farm animal to boast about, and God bless people like us who don’t fit in! I was thinking of buying the boys a small calf for Christmas, but our apartment has a strict no-bovine policy. Very sad.

I try to keep it all in perspective. One hundred years from now, no one will care what kind of job I had, what kind of car I drove or what kind of farm animal I didn’t own. (I saw that on a bumper sticker.)

Anyway, high school may have its challenges for the boys, but at least all three are in the same building this year. It’s great because I work at the quickie mart just behind the school, so I get to see my sons whenever they skip classes or run away at lunch time. It’s a thrill to see them in the middle of the work day. I just love it.

I didn’t love this past week, though. My husband went to California on business, so I felt sad without him. I don’t like being separated from Joe. The house feels empty when he’s not around, and the kids feel his absence too. Sure we filled the time by going out to fancy restaurants every night, renting movies, and going bowling, but it wasn’t the same without Joe, even if it was one of the best weeks of our entire lives.

My husband is usually full of spunk and energy, but things have changed recently, especially when he's around me. I’ll give you an example. After Joe’s flight arrived last night, I recounted everything we did this past week. His demeanor quickly became distant and he appeared to be in a catatonic state as I spoke. Maybe it was jet lag, but why did he suddenly become reenergized when the phone rang, ending our chat? I’m suspicious about who called, and I think it was a guy.

Well, no sense in dwelling on the unknown. The boys are very happy to have Joe back because he took them to play tennis the first thing Saturday morning. He plays tennis with them a lot. Joe was a great tennis player when we were in college. He'd beat my sister, Annabel, and my friends Jane and Jack all the time. They'll all attest to that. They used to call him Bjorn Borg, and it wasn't just because of Joe's long, flowing hair. But time has changed Joe's game. He can no longer see the ball or his opponents well, much like Mr. Magoo. Basically he swings his racquet every now and then, unaware that my sons are playing a real match around him. It’s much like you would play if you had a little child on the court. My boys are good kids. Every couple of minutes one will say, “Good one Dad!” as if Joe actually hit the ball. Sometimes, unbeknownst to Joe, his racquet hits the fence that surrounds the court. The kids yell “Ace!” whenever that happens. Aren't those boys just so sweet? They deserve a million bovines.

So anyway, we’re set up for a nice, lazy weekend for a change. We’re just doing whatever strikes us at the moment. I’ll probably put some plant food in my herbs on the windowsill. Maybe look at some cats. Typical late September stuff.

Well, before we know it, Halloween will be here and then Christmas. Time flies when the days start to get shorter and depression kicks in. Have a great week.


I quite enjoyed your recap of Joe's tennis aptitude. Very funny!
~ Amanda from Nebraska

Jackie's husband's response to Amanda: At least my kid doesn't eat grass.

Enough with the Lady GaGa,how about some Bollywood music?
~ Ron in NJ

Jackie's Rebuttal: Woah Ron, this isn't Burger King. Special orders DO upset us. Second, considering I am your wife's client (readers, his wife delivered two of my babies), aren't you concerned that you might anger me? Keep it up, and I may not use her to deliver the next child.