Hubert lost the keys to the car, so we had to stay nearly till the whole thing was over at midnight, or it might have been later than that, because I left my watch at home so that some pickpocket wouldn't slip it off my wrist.
Hubert thought he put the keys in his jacket pocket, but he had dropped them in the grass behind the car as he was loading up his entry in that new category they came up with this year -- shop art. He had gone out and rummaged through all those boxes he'd bought for a dollar at auctions, welded a bunch of it together and came up with a long, thin metal dog that looks like one of those little hot dogs with legs and tail.
He had gotten a white ribbon on the thing, which, I think, is fourth or fifth place, but it must be fourth because there was only four entries.
Anyway, it wasn't worth losing the keys to load it up and bring it home, but they had our name and everything, so if we'd left it there, they would have charged us for storage. I guess we'll just put it in one of the flower beds in the back and let it rust away to nothing.
When it got dark, we tried to stay off the midway as much as we could. People will just run over you without every knowing they hit anything. I reckon their minds are on themselves and how they might look to somebody else, and they'll take advantage of running over you just to get noticed in the crowd.
Hubert and I tried to stay along the edge of the midway and out of the way, because we couldn't go behind the booths along the edge. No telling what or who was back there in the dark, you know.
We finally had to go into the Democrat booth just to find a chair and give our feet a rest and we had to take nearly a bushel of pens, stickers, key holders (What did we need that for?!), and a bunch of yard signs with names on them we'd never heard of.
As everybody knows, Hubert and me are Republicans, always have been, so we worried for a while that some of our friends might see us sitting there, but there were no chairs in the Republican booth and we didn't want to stand there and hold all the buttons, pens, stickers and balloons that they were handing out. You can't find a sack to put anything in at the Gallis County Fair except the ones with advertisements on them for things we never would want to buy ourselves nor want anybody else to think we would buy that or urge them to buy the stuff.
I don't know why we ever worried about our friends seeing us in the wrong booth, because nobody we knew or ever wanted to know, walked by. And the Democrats were nice to us and seemed to understand about tired feet. Of course, they couldn't chase us off, because they thought we might switch parties.
It's a mystery to me where people buy their clothes these days. And who makes these things, anyway? They cover up what ought to be out there for all to see and expose all those parts that nobody but your mother needs to know you've got. It's like people put on clothes the way we used to decorate a Christmas tree. No wonder they're so tired when the fair's over. The decorations have cut off all their circulation, breathing's cut to the point of little pants, and nobody talks because they can't. You just hear grunts and squeals.
I was sitting there with a paper fan over my face, one that said something about voting for progress and a name I'd never heard before when Hubert spotted Stretch and Eunice. He managed to get ahead of them even though he nearly upset a baby buggy with twins in it that needed to be changed. He had to run over them to get them to see him, but after that, they came over to the booth and we let them sit down for a few minutes to rest their feet.
Eunice said they had meant to come out in the afternoon, but they got sidetracked and had come out to see the garden entries, but the building was locked and they never did get to see the 50-pound watermelon somebody told them was here.
We told them how we'd lost our keys to the car, and they offered to let us ride home with them as soon as they could get out. Stretch said somebody had parked in the wrong direction in front of his car and another one behind it, and he didn't know when they'd leave.
He suggested that we go over to the fair office to see if anybody had turned in any keys, and we said why didn't we think of that?
Well, thank the Lord, somebody had turned in about five sets of keys, but the office had a drawer full of them, and we had to go through about 500 sets before we found ours, the one that said “Dole for President,” that we'd gotten that year I entered the canned cucumbers that got a blue ribbon.
The girl in the office said the keys had been turned in by one of the Carnival workers, but she suggested I not try to find him to say thanks, because he had a knife on his belt. But I did go over to the funnel cake stand and thank an older Mexican lady. She looked puzzled.
Hubert will write next time -- Hubert and Pearly Jean Boneset, your local correspondents