‘Tis the season for state fairs and all the memories they evoke! Sharing a recent offering from The Writer’s Almanac of a humorous glance back on a state fair experience that was not the highlight of someone’s childhood…
Losing My Religion
At the Illinois State Fair, I was given five dollars
and allowed to roam the midway. I didn’t want cotton
candy or a corn dog. I wasn’t old enough for French Follies.
Then I saw a kid carrying a giant panda that
looked like a god other prizes might pray to.
Of course, I lost all my money and didn’t win
a thing. Moping around, though, I saw
the same kid slip between tents, return
the panda to a grizzled carny, and get paid.
I was a sensitive child, the sort of little pantywaist
who might grow up to be a poet, so I burst into tears.
A policeman led me to the Pavilion of Lost Children.
I cried loudest of all and refused the awful cookie.
By the time my parents found me, I was running a fever,
and my father drove home disgusted, getting a speeding
ticket which he blames me for to this very day.
“Losing My Religion” by Ron Koertge from Fever. © Red Hen Press, 2006