11 August 2008


The county fair is here, which means today was talent show time once again! This year, the Watson clan took a little trip to the hardware store.
Can you say "sweep?" Booyah! It was a little bittersweet, as our biggest fan is no longer here; but Grandma Elsie is bragging us all up in heaven tonite. Of course, no-one remembered a camera. I had to go directly from work to meet my brood at the fairgrounds, and they were hard pressed to remember their own heads, which I guess they needed more than the camera. So, we are officially going to the state fair. I like to go every year, but unlike Nora who can ride her bike to her state fair, it's an excursion for us. The state fair competition has three classes, and they only do two every night, so we have a little planing to do. While I love the fair, I love it on weekdays. One year we went on a Friday and they set an attendance record. Wall-to-wall people. Yikes. Our good friends from church will be going so Mom the Master Naturalist can work at the DNR booth. I'll check the Education MN page to see if they want help; I got free tix and mileage for working their booth one year. So I think we'll have two separate trips, but that's OK. I'll post details when I have 'em, and you MN groupies will have to come out and cheer the Watsonian detachment.
Fair time is also fundraiser time. Thing 1 and I were scheduled to pull a shift at the choir food booth, but it was short-lived as they ran out of food. That's a good thing, I think... The booth was positioned right next to the track, and tonight's grandstand event was racing. As we worked, late model heats ran. Oh. My. The vibration of a late model makes my jaw hum and gives me an uncontrollable grin that embarrasses the heck out of my daughter. She knows I've got the itch...
That noise and feeling takes me back to my childhood: Friday nights spent on aluminum bleachers at Rapid Speedway watching the local boys tear up a dirt track. Occasionally my brother would tow his car up from Omaha and run with the big boys. The grinding roar of those cars on a small town dirt got in my blood. My dad had stopped racing by the time I was born; a back injury took him out. He loved to watch my brother, though, and would work in the pits with him if we were together on race nights, dragging mom and I along, and I usually got to go to the pits with him instead of sitting in the grandstand. After my brother's divorce and discharge from the Air Force, he got out of regular season racing, but continued as a perennial contender at enduro races and figure-eights. One summer I worked near home, so I drove the "powder-puff" races with him. A Plymouth scamp hauls on dirt. Dang if that's not addictive.
Fast-forward a few years, to when my husband's video business was getting off the ground. His buddy Dan loves the races, and he got an inside lead on taping at the track. For a few years, we produced racing videos and featurettes for the Fiesta City Speedway and the local cable company. I found myself back at the track many a Friday night, usually behind a camera. When those late models came around turn four, it set off the old grinding vibration in the jaw. Racing takes money, though: gas, tires, chassis, trailers--none of it is cheap. At FC a cute little class called cruisers raced. Four or six cylinder motors, mostly stock except for safety modifications, run with a driver and a passenger. The driver had the wheel and brake, the passenger had a gas pedal. They had a track car, and gave a door prize every week of a chance to drive it in the next week's feature. I was all over that. Too much fun. That winter, my brother found a turnkey cruiser setup and bought it. We planned to go back and forth together between Casino and Fiesta City, but as it turned out, my girlfriend and I ran it all season at home. We were firmly in the middle of the pack, but we had a blast. I flipped it over once between turn three and four trying to avoid a spinout. Another time I ramped off the back of turn three to avoid t-boning another team of gals who were a bit too aggressive and spun wide in the turn. iPastor says I shouldn't have bothered; all the paint they left on the side of my car over the season proved they weren't any too careful with my safety. Mostly we kept it on all four wheels, and made enough money at the end of each night to pay for the gas and pit fees. We sold the car at a swap meet that fall; I moved too far away to tow the car to the track without a trailer anymore, and just couldn't afford one. It was one heck of a summer, though.
(This is most definitely not me, but it looks like a blast...)

No comments: