Fair notebook: Goutburgers and Evel
Mike Brown
First you’ve got to understand there are many people who work much harder than me at the Rockdale Fair.

There are lots of folks who spend several nights in a row at Fair Park, do nothing but crunch numbers for 14 hours at a time, clean out stalls, stuff like that.

I do, however, pretty much eat, sleep and breathe Fair for five days straight when that week in October rolls around, from the first crochet exhibit on Thursday to the time the presses roll on The Reporter the next Wednesday.

I probably walked by you at least once. If I didn’t wave I apologize but I learned a long time ago it’s harder to hit a moving target.

Here’s my, slightly off-kilter— well, what did you expect?—2010 Fair notebook.

• I finish taking photos in the rodeo arena and go looking for my wife and step-daughter who are somewhere on the Fairgrounds.

Yes, it would have been simpler to use our cell phones. Unfortunately I had somehow turned mine off and it took me two days to figure out how to turn it back on.

I wander into the show barn, see a friend and asked if he has seen Sue (wife) or Briana (stepdaughter and wingless pixie).

“Haven’t seen Sue,” he says. “Briana’s right there.” I follow his gaze across the ring into the bleachers, the pen area, the concession stand. Don’t see her.

I pull my gaze back across the ring, glance into the ring itself and there is Briana, holding a chicken upside down and showing it to the judge.

Uh, we don’t breed chickens at my house. We breed cats. Unfortunately we missed the cat market division sale again this year.

Yes, we got it straightened out. No, I can’t explain it.

• Cruising the barbecue cookoff area I make my annual visit with former Rockdalian Brian Jones.

I coached Brian in Little League a geologic era ago and always see him at the Fair. We talk about old times and, as I leave, he takes something off his grill and offers it to me.

Now, I suffer with gout—yes, suffer!—and have finally gotten it under control with medication and an attempt to cut out some of life’s richer foods.

I look at the sample Brian has given me. It is a grilled shrimp, packed in cream cheese, wrapped in a slice of bacon.

It is three things I’m not supposed to have, shellfish, smoked meat and heavy dairy products.

A goutburger.

So, do I decline and risk offending Brian, who is a great guy, or do I chow down?

It was delicious. • Sitting in the HD Clubhouse on an air conditioning break, a little girl comes up to me with a drawing she has just made.

To me it looks like a man with a cape on a motorcycle. And I say just about the dumbest thing I could have, “wow, are you Evel Kneviel?”

The kid’s about five. She’s as likely to know who the late motorcycle daredevil is as I am to know a Lady Gaga song.

But her mom, who is headed into the restroom about two feet away, chuckles and says “well, she’s evil all right!”

I smile and talk to the girl about her artwork when the mom, who by this time is way inside the restroom, repents and says through the closed door, “honey, I didn’t mean it; you aren’t evil.”

What a nice mom! I liked that. In fact it was my favorite moment of the week.

It’s time to end my break. I get up.

Hmm, wonder if Brian has any of those shrimp thingies left....

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2010-10-28 digital edition

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