Yesterday was the international (Harvester) renowned Monte Vista Potato Festival. My friends L and her developmentally disadvantaged son, M, came down to partake in the splendor of it all.
M loves fairs so he had a great time, and L and I enjoyed this one very much, though many people might find such goings on peculiar.
Couple with a booth selling hand-carved items, Thor’s Hammers, little bakeries (all the breads carved by hand), an unbelievably detailed outhouse only 6 inches high complete with leather bound book and real roll of toilet paper and a toilet seat made out of elk antler. “We couldn’t have kids so we do this,” said the wife. “We aren’t child less. That means you lost a child. That’s being child-LESS, you had one but you lost it. We’re child free so we can do all this.”
We line up to get our our free baked potato and toppings you pay for sold by the high school basketball team. The kid dishing out one of the toppings is the kid who rear-ended me Thursday. “Hi, D,” I say. “You play basketball?”
“Yeah, and football,” he said.
“Cool,” I say. “Take care.”
We move on, looking for a place to eat our baked potatoes. There’s a chicken trailer, a food truck, with some tables inside. We go in. “Can we sit here?” L asks.
The guy working there said we could. He was a large young guy wearing a bright green, black and white shirt that said, “Only God can judge me.” We weren’t even buying food from him, but he didn’t mind. Time showed the guy to be one of the most gentle, generous, kindest most tolerant human beings I’ve ever met. L needed cash and decided to go across the highway to the ATM. M wanted chicken. I stayed with M, the guy made M’s plate up and said to L, “I can’ keep an eye on him for you,” just like that. The guy himself was only a few decimal points above M for intellectual ability.
Every person who entered that trailer was treated kindly. “I’ll get your food ready,” he said to one customer, “You go on and see if you can get change for that because I ain’t got no change.”
M got his chicken and green beans. He enjoyed them a lot and wanted another chicken leg. We asked and the guy handed it to L. “What do I owe you?” L asked. ”
“Fifty cents,” he said, “but he din’t git his soda.”
“That’s OK,” said L. “He hasn’t drunk the one he’s got.”
Lunch over, we headed back out into the wonders of it all. Amish man selling homemade jelly. Child free people selling carvings. Girl selling earrings. We lose M. Frantic, L takes one side of the fair and I the other, but M is no where to be seen. L calls his phone and it goes to voicemail. A young girl and her little sister come toward us, “Did you lose your son, Ma’am?” she asks L. “He’s in our tent.” We follow her back and there’s M, sitting on the ground, having adopted this family and their little dog. Like me, M is dog crazy.
“Thanks,” says L. “He always finds a nice family to adopt.”
Off we go looking for something for M to do and seeing more of the sights. There’s a climbing wall. Little kids are lined up. M gets in line.
L and I sit in the shade of the climbing wall and watch all the kids try. The girls get higher than the boys every time. Then a little girl wearing gray leggings, a pink top and pink c’boy boots is up and ready to get into the harness.
“She’s going to climb that in c’boy boots,” I said to L, never one to let the obvious slip by.
“I know,” said L.
The little girl’s parents were standing by, her dad recording a video. That little girl had a hard time in those boots, and when most of the kids turned around, and she had a little trouble, she backed off and tried again. And again. And again. She was determined. I said to L, “I want that little girl in my class.”
“So do I!”
When she came down, we applauded. “She’s great,” we said to her parents.
“She did good, and in cowboy boots!” said her mom, obviously proud.
When M’s turn came, everyone watched him easily scale the wall. When he got back down, people clapped and cheered.
Thanks to Lois Maxwell for all the great photos!!!