Town and Country Days, Wetzel County's annual county fair, always brings back innumerable memories for me. You see, I was one of those kids that lived at the fair during the week-long event. In fact, my family was usually the last to pull its camper out from under the pine trees and head home.
We were there from the beginning to the end and for everything in between.
As an adult I now understand that the fair can be a rather expensive prospect when lived 24-7. At that time the carnival rides were not included in the price of admission, so a daily, or even twice daily, wrist band for unlimited rides "needed" to be purchased. Of course I always "needed" money to buy from the concession stands. I "needed" to play some games. . . you know, a kid "needs" some entertainment. I'm pretty sure I even "needed" to buy some crafts or trinkets too.
Yes, the fair can be expensive for parents. . . that is if they give in to every "need". Of course my mom didn't cave every time and I'm carrying on that tradition. My daughter probably hears the word no from me more than she does from anyone else. Trust me, I know how to turn down that sweet face and adorable blue eyes.
I was delighted to see that the ball roll has returned to the fair this year as that was always one of my favorite hang outs at Town and Country Days. It was my pick for many reasons.
-It benefitted a local organization and that was an acceptable way to "waste" money according to my mother.
-It was cheap. You could play for only five cents.
-You could actually win more money, thus earning enough to buy whatever it was I had my eye on, or at least enough to keep playing and passing the time.
I often tell people the absolutely true story that as a kid I would roam the fairgrounds with my eyes focused on the ground in hopes of finding some money. "Just a nickel," I would think, "then I could go to the ball roll."
Of course along with that hope of finding the ability to play was the hope of parlaying it into a bigger sum. At that time the cheapest concession on the fairgrounds was a doughnut for 35 cents. If I could just find a nickel, bet on yellow (my favorite risk at seven to one) and win, then I could buy one of those sweet confections.
I'm not sure if I found much money or won more than I played at the ball roll, but I do know somehow I managed to buy more than my fair share of doughnuts.
Thankfully for my finances, my fun at the ball roll didn't grown into a gambling problem. Unfortunately the doughnuts might be a different story.