Take a trip in time with me all the way back to September 17, 1999. Everyone was busy getting ready for the new millennium. We were scared of Y2K. The #1 song in the country was a little diddy by my friend Enrique Iglesisas called “Bailamos.”
Times were good.
I was an 8th grader at Chestnut Grove Middle School in the booming metropolis of King, North Carolina.
September 17 was a Friday. I left school that day and went home to do what every other 8th grader did at the time:
I got on AOL Instant Messenger.
That afternoon, I got an instant message from a girl I was friends with. This girl was very pretty. She was a cheerleader and we had a few classes together. We had the typical middle school opening conversation of, “Hey. Hi. What’s up? Nothing much. You? Same.”
Then she asked me a simple, innocent question: “Are you going to the fair tonight?”
You see, the Stokes County Fair was in town. You may think of the fair and think of an awesome place to be with outdated concerts and awesome food. I think of the fair and think of rickety old rides set up in the outfield of the American Legion baseball field.
The Stokes County Fair was about as redneck as redneck gets. But in 8th grade, things changed. Our parents stopped having to follow us around at the fair and they would drop us off and come back in a few hours.
It was our first taste of freedom.
My original answer to her question was no. I didn’t want to go to the fair. She told me she thought I should go and I told her I’d rather stay home. Not taking the hint, she kept telling me I should go.
Eventually I asked her why.
“Cause I’ll be there. ;)”
In typical middle school dude fashion, I didn’t fully understand what the winky face meant. I kept saying no until she finally spelled it out pretty clearly and said she liked me.
Wait a minute.
“Moooom. Can I go to the fair tonight?” Continue reading