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Hay’s Daze: Caught red-handed at the fair

So after last week’s rather effusive rant about how wonderful the Fair is, we actually went to said Fair. And I got caught. Yellow-nosed, so to speak. Let me explain.

The Better Half and the Sister In Law and Yours Truly hop in the car, crank up the life-saving air conditioning and head on over to the Fair. It’s just short of the Seven Hubs of Hell, temperature-wise, and even though the parking space was about two provinces away from the midway, we were in high spirits.

“Chuckwagons”, the S.I.L. says. “The chuckwagons are just starting!” It’s another 50 or 60 kilometers over to the chuck track but we finally made it, trudging waaaay over there in the oppressive weight of the scorching sun. We made it, but just barely. Only to sit on metal bleachers directly facing even more solar bombardment, the only shade being the tiny palm of your upturned hand. It’s a good thing I decided to wear what I call my “dork hat” for that very reason. It’s sort of like a wobbly-brimmed safari hat and I only dig it out when the mercury thermometers in our yard start exploding.

But once the races started we momentarily forgot that we were sweating like a mouse at a cat convention. If you’ve ever seen a race with four-year-olds (yes, FOUR year olds!) (on their fathers’ laps, but still!) driving a team of miniature horses pulling a tiny chuckwagon well, you know it’s good for what ails ya.

However, pretty soon it became fairly obvious that one of us was probably going to faint, and it wasn’t either of them. So I wobbled somehow through the thick wall of muggy sweltering syrup over to a concession stand, and although I was squinting through a swirling fog of semi-consciousness I managed to purchase three bottles of chilled water. For 12 dollars. But what’s a few sheckles when your wherewithal is waning like an Alberta politician?

Back in the stands and temporarily conscious once again I realized we were only halfway through the 10 races and not only that, my companions were all-in when it came to roasting the rest of the way. Besides, as the British say, I was feeling a bit peckish by then and I realized I could make my escape – I mean, it wouldn’t be bad manners to head off alone and find some indoor air-conditioned heaven whilst the BH and SIL enjoyed the races in spite of being fried alive.

“I think I’ll go cool off,” I said, jauntily. “You guys enjoy. I’ll be right back.” And off I snuck to find some deliciously questionable fair food. Oh, I chilled out in the indoor venue all right, but only long enough to plan my attack on the food booths. I mean, you can’t go to the Fair without, say, some funnel cake, corn on the cob and neon-flavored ice cream, right?

Meanwhile, back at the chucks, the Better Half is telling her sister (I learn later) that she bet the reason I headed off under the guise of potential heat prostration was to sneak over and gobble down as much “unhealthy fair food” without being caught.

When I finally get back to the chucks I’m as innocent as a kid at the Fair. “What did you get up to?” the BH asks suspiciously. “Oh, not much,” I say. “Nice and cool inside.” And then they look at my innocent face and start laughing, semi-hysterically.

Because there on the end of my nose, a yellow circle glob of tell-tale mustard.

Busted. I always did like a lot of mustard on my corndogs.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer Author and filmmaker. You can email him column ideas to harleyhay1@hotmail.com