For the past ten days I have been involved with the Bluegrass Fair. This is the seventh year I have managed this event. When May rolls around there is a little voice in the back of my head that begins to whisper, "It's almost July....almost July....almost July."
The first year I was in "charge" it was a catastrophe. I was new to the position, my boss was brand new, the account manager I replaced had been promoted to another sales center and was not available for consultation and advice. I was on my own. They did give me the "boy." I'll call him Brian. Brian was a University of Kentucky college student who worked for my company as the Campus Rep.
He was (and still is) a good kid. He was a fifth year senior, an only child, mature beyond his years, responsible and a great companion. He was given to me with these instructions, "Use him to help with the Fair, and teach him something." I'm not sure I taught him much of anything, but we had a great time together that summer.
The first thing we did with the Fair was to meet all the concessionaires and take their orders. We either loaded the Pup Truck (a small kind you can use without a CDL) or had Crazy Ernie ("what's in it for me") load it for us. Off to the Fair we'd go, dropping off the product, chase down the concessionaires for payment, haggle over payment and price. They abused us, refused to pay, told us our prices were too high, had us running ragged and loving every minute of it. We worked from 7am until 8pm some nights. Brian handled the money. At times he began to resemble the concessionaires with his huge wads of cash.
In addition to the Fair, I was also in charge of the Cincinnati Bengal Training Camp in Georgetown. So I had two huge events happening simultaneously and not a clue about either of them. But I did have Brian, and we got through it somehow. Barely.
Saturday afternoon we met and delivered our "much needed and much loved" product to the Fair. We were driving around the circle doing our thing of dropping off the product and trying to find someone to pay us. We were paged from the Bengal Camp...Frantically! Some emergency that required our immediate attention!
Mary and Brian to the rescue! We were using one of the cargo vans at the time, and it was into this vehicle that we jumped to race off. Taking that right turn out of the Fair, I got way too close to the gate and clipped it...Clipped it good.
Now I'm still pretty new at this job. I did not know that I was required to immediately report myself as having had an accident to my supervisor so I can wisked away to be drug tested (one of the little idiosyncrasies of working with the DOT). Instead, we continued on our mission to resolve the problem at Bengal Camp.
The next day we were in Cincinnati at Kings Island having the yearly family outing the company throws. I was sitting in the Beer Garden with my immediate supervisor and I causally mention, "Oh by the way, I wrecked the van at the Fair yesterday." He spit beer across the table and nearly hit Joe in the face with it.
Monday morning Brian and I were taken into separate rooms and made to deliver our story of the accident. We were not to hear what the other was saying. Our stories were the same! The biggest concern was that I was taking the rap for Brian. Concern was that he was a college student, he might need to "study" for the drug test. And that I was covering for him. There is more to this story, that involves breaking the law so I will not go into it. HA. HA.
Brian and I were then separated for the rest of his tenure at the company, which was another three years! Every so often it would work out that he would accompany me, presumably to help out. Whenever we were seen together people would feign mock horror.
The Fair has always been a hassle. It is hard to believe that this fair is the seventh I have overseen. It runs much more smoothly that that first frenzied summer.
But it will never as much fun.