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Has it been that long?

I am currently sitting at a table at an art festival at the Larimer County Fair Grounds. I'm sure I don't need to tell you why.

Like all shows, it remains to be seen, how profitable it will be, but this show has been a great time for me. It's the people, I just love the people, which is a little unusual for me. First, the festival is being run by our friends of twenty-plus years. I really like that this festival has given me a few stories I need to share.

Let's get started. This show was a three-day show, starting Friday night and ending on Sunday afternoon. Friday afternoon I helped Elaine set up her booth in preparation for the opening at 5:00 pm. After Elaine and I

finished setting up, Elaine allowed me to walk around the festival. I say allowed because, well, she allowed me.

As I was walking around the festival, Elaine called me on my phone. "Someone is in the booth and would like to see you."

Me: I'll head that way

Elaine: No rush, they are going to walk around the festival and come back to the booth later

The festival has a wide variety of vendors. I was truly enjoying my stroll through the booths. A female vendor was setting up her jewelry booth and I stopped to admire her stuff. Most booth vendors will start up a conversation when you enter their booths. She was no exception.

Vendor: You must be Santa Claus.

Me: Excuse me?

Vendor: Santa, you must be Santa Claus.

Me: I've been told that before.

Vendor: You have kind eyes.

Me: My wife tells me they are green.

I get Santa Claus questions this time of year. I guess it is because Elaine instigates most of them and I haven't had a haircut in a while.

Shortly after high school, I started getting haircuts from a girl who was one year ahead of me in school. She cut my hair for the next twenty years. We were the best of friends. I noticed in that twenty-year period that cutting hair was not what she wanted to do.

Sally: Hey, I'm sorry but you are going to need to find someone to cut your hair. I have saved enough and I'm done with this.

Me: Do you recommend anyone?

Sally: No, you will find someone

She was wrong. It has been another twenty years and I have had exactly one professional haircut. I have stood in front of the mirror and cut my own hair. I guess I cut it to look like Santa, or at least that is what Elaine says.

Sally disappeared from my life, phone numbers change, I lost track of the best haircutter I have ever known. OK, I'm pretty good myself if you don't ask Elaine. Walking down the aisle at this holiday art show, I spotted Sally. After twenty-plus years and a five-minute hug, (exaggerating) we were able to speak. She told me she still would not cut my hair, but she would like to grab a coffee someday. I put her number in my contact list on my phone. I'm not giving up on bringing her out of retirement.

Seeing Sally again made the festival a success for me. Well, that and the kind eyes part. I would be Ok with just those two things, but crazy enough that wasn't all.

Sometimes Elaine trusts me to work in the booth. Elaine was attending to customers. I was sitting in a chair by the cash register. Two women walked into the booth. If I had to guess, they were mother and daughter. Turns out, I was right. One of the women pointed at the Elaine Sipes Textile sign at the front of the booth. She turned and looked at me. She did a double-take before walking towards me.

Women: What is your name?

Me: (Wondering if I'm about to get handed a subpoena) Ah, ah, Monner Sipes

The women held out her hand to shake mine.

As a young carpenter some thirty-five years ago, my supervisor asked to speak with me after work. He wanted to introduce me to a new hire that was to start work the next day. Tim was about my age, good-looking, and physically fit. Boy, was he physically fit. He might have been the strongest pound-for-pound man I have ever met.

At the end of the first day we worked together:

Tim: Hey, do you want to go out for a drink

Me: I don't drink much after work. My wife and I just bought a house. I need to go home and lay sod.

Without saying another word, we headed for home. Tim beat me to my house and was laying sod when I arrived home. I don't even remember discussing my address.

Tim and I became best friends. We both had young wives. We both had one child. We had new homes. We played city-league flag football. We played fast-pitched softball. He liked to tell a story about saving my life.

I'm not sure he actually saved my life, but maybe.

Tim and I were working on the roof of a two-and-a-half-story commercial building. It was late fall and the roof was covered with frost. I slipped on the frost and started sliding off the roof. I somehow was able to turn myself around and was literally skiing off the roof. Mentally, I was preparing for the worst.

Tim was standing on a frost-free area of the roof and watching me ski down the roof. I was yelling, "Hey, buddy, hey buddy. Tim did nothing but watch me ski by. I was inches from the edge of the roof when Tim grabbed the collar of my coat and yanked me to safety. With bright blue eyes sparkling, he said to me;

Tim: I just saved your life

Me: You, Son of a (construction language), you could have saved me at the top of the roof!

Tim: (laughing histerically)

For about five years we were inseparable. Our wives enjoyed each other. we couldn't wait for Friday night.

One day Tim came to me and said:

Tim: I'm moving to Alaska Me: What are you talking about?

Tim: I'm leaving Kat and moving to Alaska

Me: Kat's pregnant, you can't leave her

Tim: I'm out of here

Me: Think about what you're doing

Tim left for Alaska. I'm told he's back somewhere in Colorado. I haven't talked to Tim or Kat in over thirty years.

Standing in Elaine's booth Friday night, with her hand stretched out to me was Kat I was wrong, it wasn't the IRS or a subpoena server. I couldn't help but think as my whole world was passing before my eyes.

The youngest of the two women was time and Kat's daughter, now pregnant herself. That beautiful little blonde girl had grown up into a beautiful woman.

Ok, one last story. I have said before people tell me things that I have no business knowing. Elaine was chatting with a potential customer for what seemed like a very long time. This was a young mother with a post-toddler-pre-teen little girl. As the mother was speaking with Elaine the child was shopping in our booth.

Years back, Elaine made a scarf with yarn that I had dyed. (Did you see how I made this a yarn story that includes me?) It was a pink/purple/lavender scarf that Elaine lined with bright pink faux fur. I not going to say it was ugly, but maybe. Not the yarn, I did a fantastic job dying the yarn.

This little girl loved that scarf. She asked her Mom to buy it for her. Mom said the girl could have the scarf, but she needed to be patient. Mom was not done talking. It was my turn to talk. Mom and I (and Elaine) discussed school districts, job possibilities, home prices and politics. It wasn't long and the conversation became personal. Elaine and I learned about Mom's challenges with their next-door neighbor.

Here comes the part about why me. Mom asked the child to leave the booth for a while. When the child left, Mom whispered to Elaine and I, "I going to be leaving my husband." Is it my kind eyes?

I don't know what is happening here, but I'm liking this festival.

Ok, let's talk yarn. The very first wholesale yarn salesman told us, "When you order yarn, always order 25% of your order that you think is ugly. Someone will always think something you think is ugly is beautiful. Just like a pink/purple/lavender scarf with a pink faux fur lining.

Our crazy lives!



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