Well, and here came that former carny, Julie, blazin' to the Acres in a beat-up, recalled Camry -- that is, she'd recalled it from her no-good ex-hubby after he'd thrown her over for a new cotton candy girl. The sad, stupid story goes, one day he woke up to discover a teensy dreadlock forming at the nape of poor Julie's carefully spun bouffant, and he decided she was reverting to her old ways. She hotly denied it, said she was done with her traveling days. But he kicked her out -- "Go back to Redwood Acres and find yourself another cowboy dupe," were his exact words. And, of course, in no time he'd picked up a floozy there himself.
Anyway, here came Julie, windows down, her spun-gold gloss tattering toward bedlam. She swerved into the entrance to the fairgrounds, wheels a-squeal, and skidded to a messy stop before the gate. Got out, slammed the door, and left the heap there. Stomped through the gate without paying, stomped in her lime-green Justins, jean mini skirt and yellow-flowered halter top straight to the rodeo ring, where a happy crowd was clapping and whistling. Stomped up the bleachers, dodging knees and toes, and plunked into an empty spot. Gazed toward the center of the ring. Huh. That wasn't Beau out there. Bullwhip Beau. She still held a candle for him. But that wasn't him! Julie waved over the beer guy. Pop, glug. Pop, glug. Pop, glug. The announcer said, "Folks, slap your paws together again for Steve The Pretty Good (Magician)!"
Julie choked on her last beer. "HAH! ‘Steve the Pretty Good!'" That was funny! She watched the magician work his last trick. The crowd grew still, then burst into applause. Julie, nearly falling through the bleachers as she lurched to her feet, hooted the loudest, "Steve, you're not pretty good! You're pretty GREAT!"
Out in the rest of the fairgrounds, hot sun warmed the backs of the cows waiting to play bingo. It seeped into the sheep barn and made the ewes sleepy. And it calmed the rodeo clown -- he'd gone a bit too Zen, anyway, ever since his last vacation when he'd traveled cross-country in a buckboard to "find himself."
Now, in the stadium, Marty Davis was crooning. Julie had nodded off, slumped against a nice lumberjack's warm shoulder. "One more ride," Davis twanged. "Whoo-eeee-oo-ee-hoo-ooo-eddie-oo-hoo-hee," he yodeled. Julie dreamed that Steve the Pretty Good had hefted her onto his horse and was trying to saw her in half while yodeling. She giggled. And then the first of the wild bronc riders burst into the ring. The crowd roared. Julie smiled, but didn't wake up.
The Redwood Acres Fair & Rodeo -- themed Blazin' to the Acres! this year -- blazes all week at the Redwood Acres Fairground in Eureka, this Wednesday through Sunday, June 23-27. Gates open at 8 a.m. each day. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors 60 and older (free on Friday), and $5 for kids 6-12 (free on Wednesday). Military personnel in uniform and kids under 6 get in free all week. And, on Wednesday, June 23, until 3 p.m., everyone gets in free. Music fests, bands, broncs, funny magic, fair food, cowboy crooning, quilting, animals, stock car racing (Friday and Saturday), Exceptional Rodeo and Dodge CCPRA Rodeo (Sunday) a junior livestock auction, rides, carnies Steve the Pretty Good (Magician) and more! Info: redwoodacres.com or 445-3037.