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Fair Time

A LickSkillet Story
by Frances A. Day

Aunt Frankie has been kind of depressed lately. Two LickSkillet sheep have died, and the only reason that she can think of is the heat. That didn’t make much sense though, because we keep a fan running in the barn for the sheep. They just lay around all day under that fan and they always have plenty of fresh water. Aunt Frankie doesn’t like them laying around in the barn because it has to be cleaned that much more often. And it just doesn’t seem natural.

I guess this heat is making Aunt Frankie grouchy, too. The bad thought struck her that it was her fault. She noticed the sheep wouldn’t go out to eat. Could they be starving? She cried to Uncle Mike and he brought some hay up for them so they wouldn’t have to go far to get it. They ripped into that hay like you wouldn’t believe.

 

Uncle Mike said if you went out and looked you could see that the grass was all brown around the closest pasture. Aunt Frankie doesn’t like this heat either and hadn’t gone out to inspect. She said, "After all, there has always been plenty of pasture." There is plenty of grass farther out but the sheep won’t go get it. I guess that is because they are afraid. There is a coyote den back there somewhere. You can hear them howling sometimes. It is spooky, especially at night.

I tried to cheer us up by talking about the fairs going on. Aren’t they fun? Aunt Frankie, in her state of mind, just grunted “Yeah, elephant ears and corn dogs and funnel cakes - greasy foods that make you sick to your stomach in hot weather." I reminded her of the lemon shake-ups and finally she said, "Well, yes, those are okay, but what is a fair without at least an elephant ear?"

I knew right then I had my work cut out for me. I asked about the fair displays of prepared food and asked her to tell me again about Grandma last year. She perked up and told me about talking her mother into entering some stuff in the food categories last year.

 

Aunt Frankie actually giggled and told me this story. She had a book from the fair association that told all about the rules and times to bring various entries to the fair. She convinced Grandma to display her canned green beans and some peanut brittle. Aunt Frankie was going to make a cake and enter it. They got their entries all ready to go, but then, on reading through the fair book again, discovered that Aunt Frankie had the date wrong - the entries were supposed to be delivered the day before! At the time, they decided it was okay, because they had a cake and peanut brittle to eat and green beans to save.

They went to fair anyway and Grandma assured Aunt Frankie that her cake should have won over the ones they saw on display. Grandma isn’t usually so tactful but it made Aunt Frankie feel good to know that her mother would try to make her feel better about missing the deadline. Then they came to the peanut brittle display. There was only one entry. Aunt Frankie told Grandma that she could tell by looking that her Mom’s peanut brittle would be better. But Grandma laughed and said how can you tell? Then Aunt Frankie told me the peanut brittle at the fair was just a puddle of amber liquid with a few peanuts in it. The heat had melted that peanut brittle as sure as the weather had killed her sheep.

copyright Frances A. Day, 1996

Frances A. Day is a ranch wife and pundit who writes LickSkillet Stories as her observations of people and animals, society and nature. Who is the narrator in the LickSkillet Stories? Read carefully and decide for yourself.

Contact Frances A. Day at lickskillet@gdppreviewer.com

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