My writing schedule is messed up, thus, the hash tag for the Slice of Life, put on by the web site of Two Writing Teachers. I did not post because *sigh* I’m at the Iowa State Fair, AGAIN!
But, this is not a state fair post, that’s next week! This post is partially about the Iowa Irish Fest 2021! Yes, they pulled it off, and yes, we were a bit uncomfortable with all the people. It’s amazing how crowds make both my wife and I a little more stand offish. This was before the Delta variant was running around. Our trip to Boston, walking around downtown made us realize that yes, we aren’t as much crowd people as we used to be.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Irish Fest is one of the best times to people watch. It’s like a mini-state fair with all the people coming out of the woods to show off their kilts and tats and their best behaviors!
This one was special for a number of reasons. It’s after Covid, and while Delta is running, I saw so many people hugging and laughing and smiling and singing and dancing that it just made my heart happy. Yes, there will be cases, but let’s be honest, the average age at this this was probably 45, so my guess, you had LOTS of people vaccinated.
My mom had fallen recently and cracked her kneecap. She was there, leg immobilizer and all, going through the crowds like it was nothing. My wife comments we needed to bring her to more places because when the big, burly, tattooed up men saw my 5’1″ mom coming through the crowd with her brace, they moved everyone out of the way!
Both daughters and both boyfriends were there. My younger daughter’s boyfriend enjoy the headliner, Gaelic Storm (like the rest of the fest did), but also suggested we should all go to a Dropkick Murphy’s concert too. Hell yes, my daugher’s boyfriend is into Irish punk?? I’d never have guessed that, but what the heck!!
The music, the food, the laughter, the conversations, all of it made for a wonderful time.
All of it except for Chad.
Chad showed up Saturday morning during the 5-K. We volunteer each year at the 5-K because it’s pretty easy, we love encouraging the runners, and it gives us a little motivation to do what we need to do as well. Well, we got the point the furthest away from the starting point (my bad, I wanted coffee and they screwed up my order). Anyway, we get to our spot and are told to guard the exit to the parking garage.
Side note: My dad has struggled the last couple of years with back issues and was just starting to come back when Covid hit. The last few weeks, he’s just seemed at peace with their decision to move, which makes me more at peace with it as well. He was so happy to be out and seeing people. It was fun to watch.
Back to the story, we find a place to sit at the parking garage and here come the fast runners, then the little slower runners, then the “OMG why am I here runners”, and finally the walkers. They run past us, turn around, then run back past us towards the finish line. We cheer and talk, just enjoying a beautiful day.
Then Chad shows up.
He comes zipping down the parking ramp, ready to pull out into the middle of a 5-K race. I wave at him, telling him the police office down the road said no one was to leave. Well, Chad’s son had a hockey game in 30 minutes and he had to leave. No, I said, that will not work. He starts cursing me out, telling me this is “the stupidest g*ddamn thing” he’d ever heard. He lost his parking garage ticket (instant karma), so he’s paying into the machine for his time and the lost ticket, my dad shuffles up, which makes this man even more mad. “Sir, I don’t want to run you over,” he tells my father, and looks like he’s about to pop off. So my dad offers an alternative route, which Chad says “fine” to, so we move baricade and he zooms away.
Well, no sooner than we sent him off than he returns, without his son! He parks his car, gets out, cursing, and walks off in a huff to talk with the police officer monitoring the 5-K. By this time, the runners have gone past and we are down to only walkers. Chad comes back, looking slightly defeated, telling us when there’s a gap in the walkers, he’s to cross the street and head down the road. So, we get the barricade moved, he drives off and all is well.
As we gather together after the race to walk back to the fest, we walk on the alternative route my father had sent Chad onto. Wouldn’t you know, it led to another police officer (much more instant karma)? We talked to this officer briefly and he said Chad cursed him out too, but that he was not going to cross into the 5-K runners and walkers and that he should be patient because they were almost done.
Chad could have been a blight on our day, but summer days like that one were not meant to have the Chads of the world cause problems. My dad is a Vietnam vet and in recent years, has really embraced that part of his life. Later that day, a gentleman, who’d recently lost his own father, also a veteran, approached my father, offering to buy him a beer and striking up a conversation about dad’s experiences. My daughter’s boyfriend, an aerospace engineer at Collin’s aerospace, sat down with my dad and showed him a bunch of pictures of helicopters he’d taken on a trip to the Oshgosh Airshow.
No, Chad, your attitude had zero chance of screwing up our day. Iowa Irish Fest did not disappoint. This will just go down in the lore of our family as just another thing!