There is a street fair that runs right in front of Diana’s wine store called “Custer’s Last Stand.” Why? Because a small portion of the fair appears on Custer Street, silly. It also allows the fair organizers to wear wool period clothes in sweltering heat year after year.
There is this amazing mixture of carny folk, people from the nearby assisted living facility and literally the strangest Evanston residents the town can dig up. It’s as if the city grabbed a few school busses and drove up and down the streets, picking up anyone who looked insane and delivering them to the fair entrance. “Oh look! A man dressed as a bird. Pull over.”
So you can imagine this is Elijah and Luca’s favorite thing. We go every year. And every year I forget what a bad idea it is to take along my first son, Grover the dog. The combination of 100% humidity, thousands of dropped elephant ears and sexy stranger dog butts practically makes him froth at the mouth. His jerking and leaping on his leash makes me spill my $7 beer.
Because of the crush of humanity and the bird people, I force both boys to stand right next to me at all times. Like the Rasta guy selling Bob Marley flags would go through the trouble of kidnapping my sons and maintaining their constant demand for Legos and Netflix addiction. But you know my mantra: Not On My Watch.
But with a beer in one hand and a dog leash in the other, I’m unable to hold their hands in a vice grip. So I forced Luca to put his hand in my back pocket like a love struck high school junior. Eli flat out refuses because he has self respect. But I can still control Luca. He stumbled behind me like a western outlaw dragged by a stagecoach.
As I thought about how I looked, staggeringly lead around by a dog, beer spilling, with a five year old’s hand in my back pocket, I realized I may not want to look down my nose at the bird people.
In the end, we looked at some crap, rode the giant slide on burlap sacks, spent $12 to win a $3 stuffed animal, drank some lemonade (beers), bought some wooden sword and got mild botulism. In other words, had a grand old time.
Until next year, bird people. Until next year.