Corn Dogs and Tractor Pulls

I am not certain of the traditional gift in celebration of a twentieth anniversary, but I’m pretty sure it is corndogs. At least that’s what I tried to convince my wife.

My suggestion to her was that we should celebrate two decades of being together doing the same sort of things we did when we were dating. I was a farm boy; that meant she had the pleasure of accompanying me to the opulence and fineries of … (drum roll, please) tractor pulls.

The premise of a tractor pull is to see whose tractor can drag an ever-increasing weight the farthest. They’re loud, smoky, loud and loud. I love them.

Can you believe a tractor pull was scheduled at the fair in the next county on our actual anniversary? Add in a corn dog and it is the perfect celebration. Timidly, she agreed to my plan. I was giddy with excitement.

A heat wave had settled on our area like a cranked-up electric blanket, but that was not going to stop us. I want to bring up the next generation correctly, so we invited my daughter and her friend (they reluctantly agreed to go) along with our infant foster son (he didn’t have a choice).

The baby began screaming the minute we left home. We stopped to buy him an over-priced pacifier since we had forgotten one. (Running tab: Pacifier $5.). I reached for my wallet and discovered I forgot it, too.

Knowing we would need cash for the fair, we stopped by an ATM next to the store. (Transaction fee, add $5). The good news: the baby stopped crying.

Parking for the fair was $2 (we’re up to $12 now) and we were directed to a space by a 13-year-old waving a water bottle. Soon a welcoming committee greeted us. Well, okay, it was two guys in T-shirts riding on a dusty golf cart, but they did say hello.

It was a half-hour before the tractor pull, so we checked out the exhibits. A faded white building housed all of the blue ribbon winning produce and crafts. We took our time carefully analyzing each one. Total required time: 3 minutes, 15 seconds. Cost: free.

We walked past all of the commercial displays (Register to Win a Harley! Raffle for a Rifle!), I heard fashion advice from a security officers (“Never wear a tie with short sleeves.”), and we strolled by all of the games and carnival rides sporting fresh bailing wire and their 21st coat of paint.

Soon we arrived at the grandstand ticket window. My heart raced with excitement (I’m certain my wife’s did, too!) and then it skipped a beat as I read the sign: “General Admission, $8. Box seats, $10. Pit Pass, $15.”

Yes, it was our 20th anniversary and yes, my wife is absolutely worth treating to a night of culture and sophistication, but not that much. We decided we’d go home – I just had to get the requisite corn dog first.

I bought myself a small-sized pup and a soda for my daughter (total $5) and headed to the car. Total time on the fairgrounds: 27 minutes. My daughter said it was 26 minutes too many.

We drove the 20 miles home (the infant wailing the entire way again – I think he was disappointed). I figured we probably used four gallons of gas on our adventure (another $11).

As we drove into the sunset, I did the math. My anniversary corn dog cost 28 bucks. I’m sure glad I gave my wife a bite. Happy Anniversary, Sweetie!

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