National Geographic : 2009 Jul
encyclopedias, storm windows, lawn mowers, vegetable peelers and choppers, humidi ers, log splitters, and home saunas. Your search for dry pants leads you through buildings where cham- pion jams and jellies are displayed on tables draped with purple, blue, red, yellow ribbons, and also champion cakes (angel food, Bundt light, Bundt dark, chi on, chocolate, chocolate chi on, German chocolate, jelly roll, pound, spice, sponge, vegetable, or fruit) and pickles (beet, bean, bread-and-butter, cucumber sweet, dill without garlic, dill with garlic, peppers sweet, peppers hot, watermelon). And through an education pavilion where headhunters lie in wait for you to pause and make eye con- tact, and they leap on you and make you hear about the bene ts of beautician training, the opportunities in the field of broadcasting. ewaytodryoutyourpantsistogetona Lou Plocher's double somersault with a half twist into eight feet of water, from 80 feet up, leaves Nebraskans gasping. Here he's a funnyman in pirate garb, but some days he dives while on fire. After thousands of plunges and two broken feet, he says, "it's still a rush." motorized contraption that whirls you through the air. Your child suggests you ride the giant Slingshot that is across the street. A long line of dead-end kids wait to be strapped into a cage and ung straight up in the air. e mob of onlookers waiting for the big whoosh looks like the crowds that once gathered to watch public executions. You pass up the Slingshot for the double Fer- ris wheel. An excellent clothes dryer, li ing you up above the honky-tonk, a nice breeze in your pants, in a series of parabolas, and at the apex you look out across the gaudy uproar and the blinking lights, and then you zoom down for a close-up of a passing gang of farm boys in green letter jackets and then back up in the air. You tell your child that this Ferris wheel is the ride that, going back to childhood, you always saved for last, and so riding it lls you with nostalgia. She pats your hand. "You ll be all right, Dad,"