Last week our little group of FFA members had just visited the Livestock barn at the State Fair in Raleigh. We all decided next to ride some of the rides on the midway but some of the fellows wanted to get something to eat before we rode.
I said, “Ya’ll get something but it makes me sick if’en I eat before I ride them crazy rides.”
“Oh, you’re just a sissy,” they said.
Well they bought themselves some of them greasy French fries and a hamburger or two with extra chili and then we headed for the rides. The first ride we took was on the tilt-a-whirl; around and around we went. Then the swings; swish, swish. Then we jumped on that big double ferris wheel. Ya’ll know the one, it has two sets of wheels and when you get to the top you’re so high you can see the dome on the state capital building in downtown Raleigh. My friend Bubba and I were on the very top and we looked down and them French fries and hamburgers won’t staying with those other boys too good. We finally got down on the ground and some of them other boys were looking a little green under the collar.
I told them, “ Boys, let’s walk on down the midway and win us a teddy bear or a turkey at the turkey shoot. I believe ya’ll could use yourselves a little fresh air, don’t you know.”
Away we went down through the midway. Why we tried several games, like throwing a softball at lead bowling pins, but you couldn’t knock them things down with a cannon. Then we tried shooting those small hoops with a basketball but to no avail. All of us tried to win a turkey but didn’t have any luck. We were just walking along when out of nowhere comes this little midget fellow. He took us by the arms and says, “Come on boys; come on in and see the Hairless Dog; only 50 cents; one half- a- dollar; come on in.”
None of us country boys had ever seen a hairless dog so we gave 50 cents apiece to see the Hairless Dog. Well you just couldn’t walk in, you had to go back and forth around a mass of high wooden boards that you couldn’t see over. Finally we got to where we could see The Hairless Dog. And you know what it was? A hotdog wiener hanging on a string!
We wanted our money back and we were going to get that little midget fellow, yes-sir-re. As we started out of that mass of wooden boards we met the biggest bouncer we’d ever seen coming our way. Why you couldn’t get a piece of paper between him and that wall. Folks, we decided we didn’t want our money back that bad and we all ran out the back of the tent.
Seeing that hotdog wiener had made us all mighty hungry. It’s not hard to get hungry with the smell of all that good food being blown over the midway with big fans. Why they had polish sausages, grilled onions, corn on the cob, popcorn, cotton candy, foot-long hotdogs and just about anything you might want to eat there, but it was a little pricey for a teenager that’s mighty hungry don’t you know. Well, all of us ate pretty well and spent most of our money on food. What was we going to do until 4 p.m. when our bus was supposed to leave?
Next week, I’ll tell you about more adventures of the FFA that afternoon at the State Fairgrounds.
J.A. Bolton is a member of the N.C. Storytelling guild and a member of the Story Spinners in Laurinburg.