(This post was first published on 10/14/07.)
I may not be rich. I may not be pretty. I may not know what it’s like to celebrate a ten year wedding anniversary despite the fact that I have been perpetually married since 1983.
But after this weekend, I can say that I am among the elite few to have ever been served a barrel full of fried food… out of a trailer… by a man wearing a beard hair net, a leather vest, and a T-shirt that read, “Ass, grass or gas. Nobody rides for free”.
AND I stood in line for nearly a half hour for the privilege.
Feel free to allow the waves of envy wash over you.
Every year the Evil Red-Headed Berta Lou and I go forth in her SUV to a craft fair about an hour or so away from home. It’s a large event held outdoors and a very popular one at that.
Women in kitty-cat sweaters come from all across the Midwest in hopes that they might obtain purses made from old jeans or joy of joys, a front porch sitting, four foot wooden Santa Claus holding a sign that says, “I’m not that happy to see you. That really is a candy cane in my pocket”.
While I love a nice quilted ceiling fan blade cozy as much as the next girl, I actually go to the craft fair for two reasons and two reasons only.
1. Food that only smells good at craft fairs and that I would never eat in a million years unless I was at a craft fair and protected by the law that says food cooked outside in autumn is safe for human consumption even when prepared by prison escapees.
2. To feel superior to others.
This year it was raining and cold and packed to the fences with middle-aged women wearing Crocs, fanny packs and appliquéd sweatshirts.
Reasons #1 and #2: check.
Besides the joy that was food and superiority, there was so much cool stuff to see, I could barely take it all in.
One booth featured the work of a talented artist who drew intricate winter scenes on a variety of unusual canvasses. I’m no art critic, but I’m saying if you can perfectly capture a snowman family holding hands under a starry sky like a bunch of Walton snowmen…ON AN OLD TOASTER…you have a very bright future indeed.
The world is the oyster of a professional Christmas toaster painter.
Another booth was just some old guy sitting at a table with his stack of paperback books. He was the author. I know that because he’s there every year and always has a hand written sign that says, “Meet the author” on the back of a piece of cardboard beside the yellowed editions. Even though he’s at least 107, I am always overcome with the urge to knock him out cold and take his place. If I do not have a book of my own, I have no problem pretending my name is Nathaniel and I have written a compelling turn of the century tale of cowboy woe.
Woe is woe, as near as I can tell.
While there were innumerable crocheted doll clothes, wooden trash cans with the word TRASH carved down the front of them and countless purses made out of 1998 calendars and duct tape, my award for best item at the craft fair has to go to the guy selling “cheese serving plates”.
Using some magical method, he had taken glass beer bottles of all kinds from the dump, flattened them, and cleverly recognized that nothing says “may I offer you some cheese” like a flat Corona bottle.
I found myself intrigued by his ability to convince the masses to give him nearly twenty bucks for something so utterly redneck, the word redneck doesn’t even describe it. I cannot even imagine a world where anything would ever be served to anyone for any reason in the belly of a flattened out beer bottle.
But maybe that’s just my jealousy talking. The truth is I too would become a cheese serving plate entrepreneur if I knew how to suck the air out of dirty old beer bottles.
On second thought, if I knew how to suck a beer bottle flat, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have to make my millions selling crap at a craft fair.