And then we drove down the mountain and went to the Ulster County Fair. The views were … different. Electrical cords snaked across hot, dusty earth powering generators for vendors of all sorts of artery clogging eats. Fried Oreos, corn dogs, sausages, elephant ears. Sporting elaborate tattoos across ample flesh were the people who ate all this food. Sounds and smells were jarring, at best.
- $45 to get in the fair. (Our youngest, being under age 4, didn’t need an armband, and I designated myself “photographer/sherpa”)
- $5 for a soft pretzel
- $5 for lemonade
- $3 for French fries
- $7 to watch someone stuff my eldest in a large plastic casing, blast a leaf blower inches from his ear, and send him scrambling like a trapped rodent in a bubble across a man-made pond.
Perhaps a few months ago, I would have felt a pain in my chest – not just from the greasy, stale French fries, but the thought at having dropped $65 on NOTHING. Yet as I stood sweating on the fairgrounds, I realized we got a lot for our money.
I have amazing memories of my childhood visits to the Miami Dade County Youth Fair, sure now that it was as every bit as grimy and seedy and oily and hot. And as I snapped pics yesterday of my thrill-seeking triad racing through funhouses and screaming their heads off on mini-roller coasters, I realized that they too will someday look back on this adventure with nostalgia. It was $65 well spent.
Interestingly enough, we came home and I saw this article in the NY Times – research shows that people are happier when they spend money on experiences rather than material goods.
A new slipcover on our sofa would only look nice for a day before the cats got at it with their claws and hairballs. My son, on the other hand, will remember forever the ten minutes he spent as a gerbil.
Blessing – living a short drive from the mountains