As I climbed of the Wipeout after a wild ride with my son James, it occurred to me that time is not on my side.
I’ve always enjoyed riding all the rides at the Yazoo County Fair, and these days I enjoy it just as much as my kids.
But I’ve started to notice that there aren’t many people my age still climbing on the more thrilling rides anymore, and there are hardly any people who appear to be much older than me.
My brother Eric brought his three young sons to the fair, and I realized that I seem to have become the crazy uncle who’s willing to ride anything with the kids while the rest of the adults watch from the ground.
One minute we were on the Orbiter spinning so fast the lights became a blur, and as soon as it comes to a stop we were sprinting for the Rock & Roll machine that takes us high in the air and spins us in both directions before it turns us loose.
We take a mandatory spin on the classic Tilt a Whirl, which has been at every fair I remember, before hopping on another classic ride that I know as the Scambler, although I believe this ride has a different name.
Later I catch up with my mother who has been taking my three-year-old son Jase on some of the tamer rides while I entertain the older kids.
That’s when I found the biggest physical challenge of the night. The fair has a giant slide that requires you to climb up a rope ladder, slide down a smaller slide and cross two shaky bridges to get to the top of the slide.
Jase was too small to go without an adult so I agreed to go with him. It was fun the first time, but Jase is the kind of kid who doesn’t believe you can have too much of a good thing.
As soon as he hit the bottom of the slide, he was racing back to the entrance to do it all again. After about 10 trips I was starting to get tired, but he was just getting warmed up. I was grateful when James showed up to relieve me as they took another dozen trips down the slide.
I finally lured them away from the slide with the promise of food, and they settled for slices of pizza and a couple of giant pretzels while I enjoyed a cheeseburger cooked by our local volunteer firefighters.
There’s something about fair food. It’s always wonderful.
After we ate it was late, and we really needed to be getting home, but Jase convinced me to let us take one last ride on the carousel.
I had hardened my heart and prepared myself to refuse the inevitable pleas for additional rides, but hearing “pleeeeeassse” from a three year old looking at those horses proved to be more than I could resist. I helped Jase get on his horse, and for a moment I was transported back to a time when those same horses seemed magical to me among all the lights and the music.
The Yazoo County Fair will always hold a special place in my heart. I have so many happy memories from enjoying the fair as a child with my parents, coming as a teenager, taking my future wife on dates, and now with my own children.
Our community should be proud that we have such an outstanding fair that has remained the best small town fair in the state for many years, and the best value for a fair period. It is Yazoo’s biggest attraction every year for good reason, and I’m grateful for everyone who works to make it happen.
The only bad thing about our trip Monday night was that Jamie and our daughter Elsie were both sick and unable to attend. We went without them because it was the only time my brother and his family were going to be able to come to Yazoo this week.
The good news is that we’ll have to come back so they can enjoy the fair as well.
The truth is that we’ll probably come back more than once.
As I mentioned before, I wonder if time is going to catch up with me when it comes to riding those crazy rides. I’m not taking any chances. We’re going to get as many rides in as we can.