Sunday, September 24, 2006

Memories of the Fair & the Carnival

One time over the weekend we taking a short cut to get from side of Cobb County to the other and went by the fairgrounds. If I had realized it was time for the annual fair we would have avoided the area.

I never been near the fair that there was not a traffic jam. But, this time there was no traffic jam. We sailed on by it without backed up traffic or anything. I saw a Ferris wheel in movement and heard a loudspeaker and a loud diesel engine and cars were in the parking lot, but no traffic. They were either already there or not coming that hour.

It reminded me of past Cobb County Fairs as I was growing up. Now, the Fairgrounds in the near the County Farm Prison Farm about three or four miles outside of Marietta. Back when I was growing up it was just a three or four blocks from downtown.

As a preteen some friends and I would walk around and watch them set up the rides and usually a carnie worker would give us little jobs to do for a dollar or sometimes even a dime. One Gypsy-looking woman handed me a bucket and told me if went to get a bucket of water for her she would give me a dime. I filled up the bucket and walked back with, which was about the length of a football field. I was just a little guy and I had a hard time holding the bucket and some of the water sloshed out. When I got to her trailer she was mad the water was not all the way to the top and gave me a nickel.

After the Fair ended and the carnival workers packed up their rides and moved on out usually the next morning would be a Sunday morning. Us boys would walk around where the rides were and look for money that fell into the wood chips and grass. We usually found several dollars of change each.

One year while looking for money I found a box full of jars. Each jar had a snake’s head in it with its mouth pried open to show its fangs in all its glory. I think there were about five or six jars. It was too valuable of a conversation piece to leave. Two of us lugged it, taking times carrying it until we got it to my house. I hid it by some bushes until I was sure nobody was watching me then we lugged it to a little shack of chicken house we had way back in the back yard – which at that time we had no chickens. I used the little house for our clubhouse and also as a make believe ship. Up on the roof was a hole that I could go through, and I had a little ladder that was there… we would pretend we were on a old wooden frigate out to sea and the hole was a hatch going “down below”.

We lined the jars with the big snake heads up in various wood boxes turned on their sides which did serve as a home for the chickens to do their thing – lay eggs.

The snakes worked out well, until one time my mother was up in the back yard having an old black man and his mule plow up an area to plant a garden and stuck her head in the chicken house and saw the snakes.

She was very upset with me and was about to destroy them regardless of my objections when her brother dropped by for a visit. Her brother was head of the State Rehabilitation Department and up until then he was an educator and principal of a high school in Murray County, Georgia. He looked over the snakes heads and told his sister I really had something that many schools would love to have. He talked her out of getting destroying them.

For that moment anyway. She waited until I was in school the next day and broke all the jars with an ax. A horrible stench was in the air when I came home. Snake flesh along with whatever you pickle snake heads with – vinegar? We had to shovel the heads up and throw them in the garbage.

I don’t blame her, she couldn’t stand snakes.

Back then the fair started about the same time the first high school football game started. One year several of us on the side of the street watched our friend in the high school parade to celebrate the opening of the football season and the fair. One of our friends in the parade hollowed from a convertible that the parade was going to the fairgrounds and they would get in free.

My friend and I pulled off some crate paper off some of the paraders’ cars and ran the streamers up and down his mother’s PV544 Volvo. We jumped into the car and drove up and became the last car in the parade. I drove and the friend got on the front fender and raised his trousers up, past his knees, crossed them like a beauty queen and flew kisses to the people on the curb watching the parade.

Everybody watching cracked up – except and aunt of min who saw me and hollered, “Eddie Hunter! I’m going to tell your mama!” As far as I know she never did.

We, as the tail end of the parade we paraded right into the fairgrounds.

We ran into two friends who both now are millionaires. They told us some guy in a big trailer full of stuffed animals told them he would give them ten bucks each to carry a bunch of stuffed animals and dolls to his booth on the fairway and hand them over to the guy there and after they empty out the trailer he would give them pay them.

We asked what kind of game is he running at the booth. They laughed and said they didn’t know, they never got that far. They put the first load of dolls and stuffed animals in their car.




Blogger Carolyn said...

Snake heads in jars, *Yuck!* What kind where they? Sounds like you guys were mild pranksters to me, lol!

9:16 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Mu mom couldn't even stand to watch a show about snakes on TV.

11:09 PM  
Blogger ET said...

I think most were rattlesnakes. I remember they all had the big fangs.

Now days I avoid snakes too, even on TV - I can't stand the sight of them.

2:44 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Snake head in jars are just up my alley. It is too bad that she destroyed such a fine treasure.

1:07 PM  
Blogger ET said...

I love to to have them on display some place now.

1:09 PM  

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