Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Mouse Game

Growing up in a small Indiana town, my community always looked forward to the end of September when the county fair was held. It's the last county fair of the season and everyone came out to celebrate. The schools even closed on Friday so everyone could spend even more time ingesting elephant ears, hurtling around on the rides, and dropping $20 bills on the games. One game my mom and I would play is called the Mouse Game. Everyone stood around a tent and put their quarters on the number combination they thought would win. The announcer would let a mouse out of a box into an enclosed wheel and the mouse would run into one of the holes of the wheel which had a designated number. If you had a quarter on the number that corresponded with the mouse's choice, you won a prize.

In the olden days (you know way back when), your quarter would cover six numbers - like 7-12 or 25-30. But from what I gather, you no longer get as many numbers with your quarter. There were two mouse games, right across from each other in the same spot every year. I always went to the same one. The same guy was there year after year. I always remember the way he said, "And here he goes..." before letting the mouse free. I'm reminded of this every time Freddie takes off on a running fit around the house. I mimic that mouse game announcer, "And here he goes..." Of course, I'm the only one who gets it.

The family and I attended our county fair a few days ago. It's different than the one I grew up with. It's enclosed in the fairgrounds and much smaller. I miss the one I remember. The one that took over the town. It covered several blocks around the court house and spanned almost a mile south the official fairgrounds. When I suggested to the Polack that we take the boys to our fair this year, he rolled his eyes. The fair doesn't have the same meaning to him.

(Cuz he grew up with the crappy small fair while my fair was super-awesome! I mean, who wouldn't like a fair that caused the school district to shut down for a day?)

I realize that my expectations of my hometown fair won't ever meet the memories I have of it. But I'm hoping that sometime in the next few years, I'll have an opportunity to take my boys and experience it again through their eyes. In the meantime, here are some photos from our recent visit to the crappy fair.


Christy said...

I can definitely share your feelings about the fair. I so remember the mouse game guy!

BETHY said...

I LOVED our fair. Much bigger and better than this one. Every stinkn year i go to the fair with high expectations and say every year...wheres all the food? Where are all the animals? The rides? I get the same roll of the eyes too. Our hubby's just don't understand.
Maybe we should do a road trip sometime to our fairs and back to the good ole days!
BTW, did you have a "mic stand". We could page people for $.15. It was great, pranks all over. Now they don't do it anymore. That used to be the best!
PS - we NEED to have game night soon.

Natalie said...

We did have a mic stand! I never used it so I don't know how much it cost. We should definitely do a road trip. I thought about gonig to mine this year. I haven't been in five years. But unfortunately, I'll be out of town.

Brenda said...

Natalie and Beth...where did you grow up - what fairs are you talking about?? I'm from I have always thought "our" fair was "fairly" decent (pun intended). Now I feel like I have only ever known a lame-duck minus the mouse fair. Bummer. Great post Natalie.