Baxter Black: The Fairboard
It was every fairboard’s nightmare when the lightning hit the stage.
Course, it might have been expected; it was just another page
In a trail of disasters that befell our county fair
That began when Dr. Knockwurst told us we should be aware
That a stomatitis outbreak might shut down the rodeo
Not to mention all the entries in the Junior Livestock Show.
Then the week before we opened they began to excavate
Down the center of the highway that runs up to the main gate.
Of course, they hit a waterline. We were Lake Louise by dawn.
But no water in the spigots in the barns or in the john.
So we planned on shuttle parking using pontoons and canoes
But we finally wound up asking folks to just take off their shoes.
And the carnival got testy ’cause we couldn’t build a bridge
Plus the vendors all were grumblin’ due to decreased patronage
But the tractor pull went okay ‘cept they pulled a light pole down
Which played havoc with the dog trials when two handlers almost drowned.
On the morning of the last night the promoter called to say
That the singer had a sore throat and could not perform, no way.
But by noon it didn’t matter ’cause the clouds came rollin’ in
And the crowd all left in lifeboats so by five we pulled the pin.
We retreated to the office down beneath the grandstand seats
Where the fairboard did its business and hashed out the balance sheets.
‘Cause tonight we were survivors. Like a pile of used retreads
Only glad that it was over, all we did was shake our heads
And ask ourselves why anyone would take this thankless chore
When a kid, in tow with mother, stuck his head in through the door.
He had lost his yellow ribbon, she explained, both drippin’ pools,
And wondered if by some small chance, if it weren’t against rules…
Could we? “Course we could!” I shouted. “We’re the fairboard! That’s our thing!”
So we picked him out a dry one. It was like we crowned him king.
And he tried to say his thank yous but his tears got in the way.
Time stood still as he departed. No one had too much to say.
Till the lightning hit the stage lights, then I heard me volunteer,
“I reckon we should get them fixed ‘fore we do much else next year.”
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