It had been more than a decade since I last attended the Fort Bend County Fair and Rodeo.
But the moment I stepped through the gate Sunday morning, I was transported to a simpler time and place – a time when my biggest worry was not weekly deadlines, but how much fried food I would consume despite my parents’ objections.
The faces behind it have changed since I last participated in the festivities as a customer, but its simple pleasures have not. And in this case, simplicity and consistency are sights to behold rather than things to be criticized by those who seek change at every turn.
I’ve never been much for the rodeo portion. But fried food and carnival rides never go out of style. Neither does family bonding.
As the smell of corndogs and fried Twinkies and the sound of children’s joyful screams permeated the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds in Rosenberg, I made my way around to all the rides, soaking it all in. All around, I witnessed the epitome of what an event like the county fair is supposed to be about – families taking a breather from the reality of work, school and life’s other stressors to simply be with each other.
That point was hammered home even more as I started chatting with those spending their Sunday afternoon in Rosenberg, where the 10-day fair and rodeo concluded that day. With each story I heard, the feeling only grew stronger.
On the front page of today’s edition, you’ll read about the experiences ranging from fair veterans to relative newcomers. It doesn’t matter who you are, fun fried food at a Texas fairgrounds is a religion in and of itself, one that has bonded families for generations and figures to continue doing so.
I ran into a Sugar Land mom who for two decades has used the event as an annual outing to bond with her three teenagers, and a Richmond resident and middle school principal making time to give his two young boys the time of their lives. Later, I watched a man who works long hours and rarely gets time to spend with his young son and daughter enjoy a spinning, twirling ride with his kids with seemingly not a care in the world.
Don’t get me wrong – I love my life in its current stage. I’ve made wonderful friendships and had the opportunity to work for good, if demanding, bosses and supervisors during every job I’ve had from high school to present day. I take joy in what I do.
But I’d be lying if I said there weren’t some days I wish I could hit the rewind button and take myself back to those days at the county fair. So I can’t wait until it comes back to Fort Bend County next year.
It represents a simpler time, one I didn’t take enough advantage of when it was happening around me. I didn’t realize it then, but we need to take the time to make those memories when we can. And the easiest time to do that is earlier in life, before the stressors and hassles of life even have a chance to enter the conversation.
Today’s world is all about the next big advancement, “progress” for no other reason than to try boasting that we have the next big thing. It’s all about life in the fast lane.
But sometimes the best things in life are simpler pleasures, like fried Twinkies and a spin on the Tilt-A-Whirl with the ones you love.