Fair days take me back to the age of nine, seeing my first project as a mini 4-Her hanging in the exhibit hall. To gravel roads, striped tents, and pocket change. To straw beneath my feet and a sugary lemon shake-up sweating in my hand. To the one week of summer when my mother didn't cook, but spent the week walking among the exhibits, the animals, friends, and cuisine fried any way you like it. Hot afternoons working the fountains at the Junior Leaders stand, the air dense with natural perfumes: cow pies and damp sawdust. Men's voices quick and loud like auctioneers. Girls in sashes handing out blue ribbons. Midway lights and brightly painted rides, one shaped like a saucer with a steering wheel inside that one high school summer Jason spun so fast, I thought the world (and my stomach) might never go straight again. Our evening last call as the family gathered each night at the Jaycee tent (no need to be told) for one last fresh waffle cone (mine always mint chocolate chip, make it a double) before finding the car, and our pillows, and doing it all over again.