Deep Fried Twinkies

Posted: 18 August 2005 in DC, other folks, queerlife
Tags: , ,

D and I went to the county fair yesterday. I’m a county fair girl from way back. My mother used to drag us through stinking barns to see the award winning hens and prize hogs. We didn’t get to go on many rides, whether that was because of the cost or the danger, I don’t know. So mostly, we oohed and ahhed over the best stitched vest and the brownest, biggest eggs; exclaimed over perfect flower arrangements; and, hoped that in return, she’d let us go on a ride, any ride.

For a few years in my middle childhood, there were no county fairs to go to, because it was too hot or too expensive or too commercial. But, when I got to school in northern Arizona, we were suddenly back with the sort of people who can put on a county fair in the way they were meant to be put on: heavy on the ROTC, heavy on the boy scouts, heavy on the down home. And, we discovered the delight of a demolition derby.

I had a string of useless cars in college (or a string of bad luck) and as a result, I knew the drivers at the local towing company on a first name basis. They gave me a volume discount and in return, my family cheered on their drivers at the local demolition derby. For ten years (No, it didn’t take me that long to graduate! I have two sisters.), my family rooted for Joe and Sue and their cars sponsored by the towing company. And, up until my parents bought a house in Wyoming, there was always talk of going back to the Coconino County Fair for family reunions, instead of doing more conventional celebrations.

Living overseas, I sorely missed the basic smash-em-up draw of the demolition derby and was thrilled to find a real live county fair in Virginia. However, unlike the fairs of my mainly Western youth, this fair was Southern born, Southern bred. In fact, this fair nodded back to the fairs Ray Bradbury conceived in Something Wicked This Way Comes. The midway was garishly bright, the game hawkers had their sharp patter down to a science, luring in all sorts to give up a dollar for a shot at some milk bottles, and the rides squeaked and whirled while bored operators passively looked on. I was fascinated by the dunking booth and clown inside. A stream of insults flew perfectly from inside the booth as frustrated teenagers plowed baseballs around the target. He poked fun at their hair (nappy, he said) and at their relationships (you boys lovers, he asked) at their birthplace (rednecks, he heckled) and at everything about them. A crowd drew steadily all night and uneasy applause combusted each time someone sank him. As much as I wanted to stay to listen to his eerily cruel, easy banter and carnival-gone-wrong laugh, I also wanted to get away. There was a mob brewing in the crowd and I’m sure it wouldn’t have been the first time the clown watched a riot from the safety of his box.

I got several snapshots of unlikely t-shirts and D and I consumed our fair share of awful for you county fair cuisine. And, we were able to fulfill one of my most simple dreams: to just once in my life eat a deep-fried twinkie. Oh, dear reader, it was more than I had ever dreamed.

Bonus points if you, too, have indulged in deep fried twinkies while wiping sticky cotton candy from your cheeks.

  1. Shane says:

    I can relate. I’m a bit of a hick too – probably even more, having my childhood in a small town in Southeast Asia and then much of my growing up in a rather backward part of New Zealand.

    ‘Tho i’m quite proud of being a hick, actually 🙂

  2. backlist says:

    So what’s your fried twinkie/demolition derby/county fair equivalant in New Zealand?

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