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Group visit to State Fair was a blast, despite the problems

It started out as a simple plan. Three friends getting together and going to the State Fair.

Last year we did it and had a ton of fun, despite  or perhaps because of  the pouring rain. We rarely get together so it is always a treat ... why not make it an annual event?

Among the three of us there are six kids, plus we are missing a friend who passed two years ago. Counting her kids we have nine, and now there's a baby.

Oh Lordy. A baby. This is how life happens.

Anyway, our kids are all scattered now, but close. Of the nine, six are in The City. So the kids got wind of the Fair Outing and either invited themselves or were enthusiastically invited by me, I can't remember which. It's a little blurry.

Long story short, there ended up being 13 of us. Much as I adore getting the group together, more is not always better. It's reminiscent of the time when my daughter was in second grade and we had a birthday sleep-over. Not wanting to leave anyone out, she invited the whole class of girls, and about 30 of them showed up.

That may be a slight exaggeration, but I swear it felt like 30.

What we didn't plan on was waiting in line to park for almost an hour, and the 90-degree heat making us all miserable. The fair was packed, and I mean PACKED. More crowded that I've ever seen it, but I've often gone on a weekday, or as I said, in the rain.

When did September start being such a wet month? Parking was such a mess because so much of it was unattainable due to the mud. It was, however, entertaining as we waited in line in our cars to watch the trucks attempt to park in the mud, then get stuck.

So we finally parked, and 11 of us met up in the middle. Somehow two random people joined the group. Now we are 13, with 13 different appetites, bladder needs and beer preferences. The baby needed either sunscreen or to get out of the sun (as we all did), so we did what every other person attending the fair did and went into an air-conditioned building.

We thought about buying a mattress (who buys a mattress at the fair?), watched an amazing presentation of collapsible plastic storage containers, looked at Christmas ornaments and funky clothing, bought Indian Tacos, corn dogs, pizza and beer, held said beer several times as the beer drinkers went to the bathroom, loved on that new baby, laughed and took lots of pictures.

One of us bought a pocket knife and promptly cut a finger, then got mad when we teased about it, so don't bring that up. EVER.

It got complicated when three of the kids wanted to ride a ride and we split up then tried to reunite. At one point heat stroke tapped on my door and I needed to sit down but couldn't find a shady spot, and I got a little cranky. Another kid got full-blown cranky and had to leave, the baby was melting, kids had to leave for various college activities, and we all got done pretty quick. There were hugs all around, and we dispersed, back to simpler times.

We always said it would be simpler when the kids were grown; now I'm not so sure. As harried as the reunion was, it was a bunch of fun getting everyone together, even under harsh circumstances like a muddy, 95-degree sunny Sunday at the Oklahoma State Fair.

One of my friends said it best. "Next time we want to get together, let's go to a spa!"

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