“If he had the coordination required to juggle he could entertain
here at the Welcome Inn.”
“I wonder if he’d be able to remember any jokes.”
I tensed, anticipating a speech from Mom or Dad about appropriate
dinner conversations, specifically the one about showing respect for all
of God’s children, even clumsy drunks. But Dad was chuckling while
Mom’s eyes followed the gravy boat, seemingly worried it wouldn’t
last a full round of the table.
The topic of Larry’s fall led into a jovial stream of circus and
carnival tales, with the usual competition for airtime. When Mom
asked for a count on who wanted apple pie or peach, Abe grabbed the
Abe hailed from a small town inOhio, this one just outside of
Cincinnati. He bragged that he was more “cultured” than Herman
since the town he came from was close to a big city. Abe was tall with
longish black hair, parted at the side and slicked back. He wore black
rimmed glasses and black boots that he said he needed for riding his
motorcycle back home.
“I got busted when I was ten,” he drawled. “I snuck around to the
back of the fortune teller’s tent to find out what went on behind the
curtain. I’s on my hands and knees, just got my head inside and I got
grabbed from behind. That about made me wet myself.” He paused,
just long enough for effect, but not long enough for someone to start a
new story. “Two fellas in uniform hauled me onto my feet… marched
me back to the entrance… called for my Mom and Dad to come git me
over the loudspeaker.”
“How big a fair was it, to have guards?” Mark wanted to know.
“That whole fair would’ve fit into the vacant lot,” he said, pointing
to the south wall.
We never found out about young Abe’s punishment because at that
instant, Dad sprang out of his chair and yelled into the air, “Let’s us
have a fair!”
It was momentarily quiet. Dad stood staring ahead as though seeing
“A fair here?” asked Mom.
“In the vacant lot,” Dad said, coming to and sitting down. “We can
have our own fair!”
“You mean with booths and games?” Mom asked.