The last three weeks have been crazy. I was very sick for an entire week – in bed for three days straight with a high fever and awful cough which led to laryngitis and no voice for two days. Adam and I celebrated our 15th anniversary on the same day that we closed on a new house. Alaina was hit by a car the following week and then turned 13 two days later. (What?! That’s crazy. I agree.) Then Isaac woke up in the middle of the night Sunday night with a 103 degree fever that stayed around too long and hives all over his body and ended up being diagnosed with Roseola.
Because the three weeks leading up to Roseola weren’t enough.
I’ve shared so many times that I love the State Fair. A friend asked me this year why I loved it so much – and I just kept rambling on about the diversity, the animals (and the baby animals), the people-watching, the food, my kids’ pure enjoyment while we’re there.
But I then realized that one of the biggest reasons I love the fair so much is because my dear friend Will Tolbert lets me work at The Stand. The Elephant Ear Stand.
I love it so much. Getting to share my love for the fair with the thousands of people who order elephant ears and funnel cakes makes me so happy. They make me laugh and they join in with me. They irritate me and they’re rude to me sometimes too, but that’s what makes the fair so great. The diversity.
But I realized this year that I’d never work at any other stand at the fair. Because as much as I love the fair and working at the stand, it’s not just being a carney that I love so much. (Okay, so maybe it’s that a little bit…)
It’s the people and the fun and the love that’s INSIDE The Stand that makes it so wonderful. And it’s only that way because of the culture and space that my friend Will began creating 20 years ago. (Working at an elephant ear stand, even for only 17ish days a year, for 20 years, pretty much qualifies you as a for-real carney, am I right?)
I think he said it best: “20 years at the State Fair. It has been an amazing journey with a lot of my best friends and family. People often ask why I keep working… for me it’s because it’s a chance to spend time with some of my favorite people.”
I have met some of *my* favorite people because of The Stand. I get so excited to reconnect with my fellow stand carneys each year. I smile and laugh so much each night I work during the fair because of them. Will introduces me to new music (because I’m old and not cool anymore) and my very much younger “coworkers” try to keep me young by keeping me out till 5am after a night in The Stand. (It actually does the opposite. Do you know what being out till 5am does to a 37 year old mother of 4? Don’t find out. It now has a name – “The Island Fever.”)
Come with me next year. And every year after. Soon enough, Alaina will be taking over for Will and me in The Stand. Because carney is a gene.