Back in the old days, people used to collect themselves at the cave in the middle of the woods, look up at the stars and the constellations and make up stories about the various diagrams they saw in the sky. You know, Orion, The Big Dipper, The Little Dipper, Cassiopeia, Taurus, Boötes, etc. etc.
These people would call themselves by various names, like Neanderthals, Bigfoots, or just plain old ordinary "cave men".
Then came the agricultural age and folks would meet at Old McDonald's barn for the weekly hoedown. A band made up of a few dulcimers, some banjos and gee-tars, and a fiddle or two would take center stage, the beer and whiskey would flow and folks would dance up a storm.
Later, these same agricultural folks would create what is known as the county fair. It only comes once a year on a designated week that is permanently set. These shindigs, still around today, are popular mainstays on the calendars of the people of the American Midwest. Children belonging to 4-H clubs who raise livestock will showcase their chickens, sheep, goats, pigs, cows and the like, tending to their varmints' needs like nurses in a maternity ward. The critters are housed inside the big barns at the edge of the fair. Meanwhile, carnival rides and food booths selling french fries, hot sausage sandwiches, elephant ears, corn dogs, and other kinds of country food-trailer cuisine make up the crux of the fairways of such an ornamental yearly monstrosity. You can bet that the french fries you buy at any county fair, doused in pungent vinegar, cannot be duplicated anywhere else, except that very week when your county fair takes place.
BLAME IT ALL ON THOSE INJUNS: With the advent of the industrial age, however, this agricultural get-together's popularity is waning a bit. Of course, people are mad that the county fair has lost its hold on the modern-day world. This year, some people in a Northeastern Ohio environ are even blaming long-dead Native Americans for the demise of their fair. The Trumbull County Fair, near Warren, Ohio, was built on an American Indian burial ground, they say, and each and every year since this agricultural flop has popped up on the calendar, the Trumbull County Fair has been a complete washout. Actually, this is a bold-faced lie. This fairgrounds was built on a derelict brownfield site that once was an integrated steel mill. Its former name was STEAL THE STEEL & DUMP RUSH YA Inc. One of the blast furnaces's tips can still be seen poking out of the lamb and sheep barn.
According to a WKBN First News 27 yesterday evening: The Trumbull County Fair began on Tuesday. In just the last 80 hours, Doppler Radar estimates the fairgrounds have seen more than an inch of rain.
"It's a given here at the Trumbull County Fair," Sharon Christner, of Christner's Concessions, said.
And why's that?
"Well they say Indian burial grounds," she said. "They're mad because we're here."
Christner has been going to the fair for 44 years. She said ever since she can remember, people have been telling that story and it's a legend that almost everyone seems to know.
"No matter what day it is or the week it is, we always get rain," Wagner said. "We sit there and say the Indians chant to make sure that they know we're here on their grounds."
Christner said it must be true.
"I believe it. I do, I do because we get the rain every year."
Now some pinko-commie-liberals might see this as true racism, blaming people who died a long time ago for raining on living people eating hot dogs, gawking at exotic chickens that look more like llamas than poultry, and walking around on concrete stretches of pavement in the teeming rain. Some might even say it's just plain crazy talk and hardly fodder for a news story. Did the WKBN First News 27 "fact checkers" verify that yes, it's rained every day for the past 44 years that this fair has taken place?
THE REAL SCOOP: And there are those of us who know the real reason nobody was standing in the rain all day Thursday in that little country-fried corner of Bazetta Township in Rain Forest, Ohio. It's because everyone is at Wal*Mart. Yes, there is a place you can go where it never rains. You can spend days walking around the 115,000-square-foot monster of a building, price .305 Savage high-power rifles to shoot caribou and moose; see the 178 different flavors of fudge; eye-up an assortment of microwaves, coffee-makers, fishing lures, car air fresheners, and get an oil change while doing so.
"Yeah, I'm against the Second Amendment, except when it applies to me," I mutter to the clerk at the firearms counter, holding that wonderful Savage .305 in may hands while looking through its scope.
"How much for this beautiful piece of artillery?" I ask.
"Oh, it's just under four hundred bucks, scope included," he tells me.
You can order medicine there, check the latest prices of pup tents and lawn chairs, move quickly out of the way of that little old lady wheeling around in a store-owned handicapped buggy, taste a few morsels of free pizza set and displayed on one of the long counters of the bakery, find the perfect ouija board with which you can invite a demon into your humble abode, and see that great new mountain bike your nephew Jake wants for Christmas. Oh, and don't forget to scan over "The Barbie Collection" that your niece wants you to consider giving her come December. Maybe you'll decide not to buy the entire collection, but you can splurge on a Barbie™ Hair Fair Doll Set for a Christmas in July, discounted down from fifty bucks (for a limited time only).
THE CAT'S MEOW: No matter what time of the day or night you step into this wonderful place, you're bound to see someone you know, unless you are a hideous hermit and know nobody. You can talk to the jewelry clerk about earrings and even though your last girlfriend ditched you, you can spend an hour chit-chatting with this plump, middle-aged woman about what Donald Trump did today or what the SNL crew did to lampoon Trump the previous Saturday.
Wal*Mart's employees are the nicest folks in the world. Salt of the earth wonderfuls who have an eight-hour shift to kill, and although this department store isn't renowned for having great service, those employees wearing their little blue hats with yellow flowers on them are easily approachable, are usually gregarious and slap-happy, and are more than willing to talk to customers about almost anything.
IT'S SO HARD SAYING 'GOODBYE': "I'm not bothering you, am I?" I say to an elderly man who is a greeter. We were jibber-jabbering about am MLB baseball game played earlier this afternoon. He mentions something about his days in the Army - during either The Civil War or the Korean War. I can't recall..."Nope, they pay me to talk about baseball to customers up front here," he quips. We laugh like spotted hyenas on the Serengeti. I walk out those wide doors but want to turn around and do it all again. Right then!
And you can do a half million things at Wal*Mart. It's the modern-day singles bar, the hillbilly hollow county fair under roof, the Chinese flea market right off downtown Detroit, the shining opal of commercial craziness that has everything you'll ever want or need deep discounted and showcased on racks that never seem to start or end.
Times have changed, Mr. and Mrs. Old McDonald. Quit blaming long-deceased American Indians for raining on your vinegar-soaked french fries. Drive that old jalopy right down the street to Wal*Mart. Penny and Pete are there. So is Joe Taylor, who you haven't seen since you graduated from high school. There's pots and pans galore in there, along with five new flavors of Mountain Dew and six new flavors of Gatorade. There's enough wine and beer in there to get the entire state of New York drunk for a week.
Give up on the Agricultural Age, get with the times and give the ghost of Sam Walton your nickles and dimes. Smilin' Sam's still around, you know, and he's not dead. No, not dead at all. And it never, ever rains in his big store.