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Saturday, August 6, 2022

The smell of corn popping!

Hi dear Reader,

How has your summer been?

I just love summer. What is your favorite thing about summer? One of my favorite things to do is attending street fairs.

This past weekend the town I live in had their summer festival. It was three days of activities, contests, and food. My parents came to visit, and we went on Saturday.

The town square was blocked off with a farmers’ market that was in full swing with craft tables, farm fresh produce, and local products. The small businesses had their stores set out on the sidewalk next to food carts. The gyro stand roasted lamb. One place made kettle corn. Another was deep frying Oreos. Hubby’s favorite is the mini donuts covered sugar and cinnamon. I always have to have the internal struggle with deciding between gyros and funnel cakes. A musician sang country songs on the stage in the middle of the square. People milled about or sat at the picnic tables to watch. We had a great time walking and shopping.

I always stop at the bookstore. The owner has tables of ex-library books set out on the sidewalk. It’s $2/book and I never know what I’m going to find. I ended up taking home a Stephanie Plum novel, which always makes me laugh. I also found a romance set during the Prohibition where the heroine is a bootlegger, and the hero is a long-lost boyfriend turned undercover agent. I haven’t started it yet, but it sounds good.

I’ve used the various street fairs I’ve been at as inspiration for the one Melanie goes to in Falling for My Cowboy. I had originally planned it to be on the town square like in Marshall, MO. That street fair was a blast with good food and music.

But Sunnydale doesn’t have a town square, so it was going to be set up on Main Street. (Some day I’ll make a real map of Sunnydale, not just my scribbles on paper.) It was fun to bring a city girl to something that is quintessential small town. Below is an excerpt from Melanie’s point of view:

That afternoon, we went to Sunnydale’s Spring Festival. Colorful tents lined the sidewalk of Main Street where vendors sat selling everything from pies to beaded necklaces to hand-carved wooden statues. And the smells. Buttery popcorn, kettle corn, churros, and, of course, hotdogs. It smelled so good; my stomach rumbled. Delilah and I walked around the stands, ate churros, and played some games. When the sun began to set, a chill came into the air.

“Hey Delilah, I’m going to get my jacket from the car. Do you need anything?”

“Nope.” She aimed her air rifle at the balloons and lined up her next shot. “I’ll be here until I win that purple unicorn. It’ll look great on my sofa.” She nodded to a ridiculously large stuffed unicorn at the top of the booth.

I headed to Delilah’s car when a familiar rusty truck pulled up next to me.

“Hey,” I waved to the driver and continued on my way.

Pete leaned out of the window. “Are you coming or going?” He pushed his cowboy hat up higher on his forehead. His eyes sparkled when he looked at me causing my heart to pitter-patter to its own beat. My breath caught at how good he looked in a tight T-shirt with a five o’clock shadow. What was wrong with me? I usually liked clean-shaven men in fancy business suits, not some ruggedly handsome hillbilly. I shook my head to clear such thoughts.

“I’m on my way to get my jacket. Delilah’s shooting balloons,” I motioned back to the festival.

A chill crept up my arms causing the hair to stand on end. I rubbed my arms and looked away from his intense gaze.

“Alrighty, I’ll park and walk with you.” He smiled like I had just made his year by going to the Spring Festival. His eyes lit up and little creases formed in the corners of his eyes. He angled his truck into a nearby spot. By the time I’d retrieved my jacket, he was leaning against the hood of his truck with his arms crossed. He gently took my jacket and helped me into it. An electric buzz went up my arm as his hand grazed my skin. His soft breath tickled the back of my neck. I was suddenly aware of how close he was and took a step away. Come on, Melanie. Hold it together.

“Are you enjoying your stay?” He fell into stride next to me.

“It’s been nice.” I hesitated and twisted my hands inside of each other. “It’s nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.”

“Really?” He stopped and tipped my chin up with his finger to meet his unwavering gaze. I sucked at lying; his eyes searched mine for a minute.

“Actually, I miss it a lot.” A sigh escaped. “I love Delilah, but podunk isn’t my thing.”

“Well, that’s Sunnydale. As backwoods as you can get, but we do have a nice traffic light.” He grinned and we walked in silence. “Why did you come here then?”

“In my defense, Delilah lives in San Antonio. That’s a big city.” I pushed my bangs out of my eyes. “I thought we would be hanging out there. Not here.” I swept my arm towards the festival.

The lights from the rides twinkled in the setting sun as children ran up and down the street. Happy screeches filled the air. A band tuned their instruments at the far end of the festival.

“If you give us a chance, you might find that you like it. We can be surprising.” He continued to walk as if he didn’t say the most confusing thing ever.

We? What was he talking about? Sunnydale surprising me or him surprising me?

Delilah was up ahead, waving us down, holding on to a large purple unicorn. She was surrounded by her brother and a bunch of other people I hadn’t met. She winked at me as Pete made his way through the group.

“So, you ran into Pete?” That seemed like more of a statement than a question. She linked her arm into mine. “Let’s go try some rides.”

Granted Melanie is a product of my imagination, I was proud of her for trying something new without being too prejudiced. She ended up having a great time. Have you done something out of your comfort zone that you ended up liking more than you thought?

(As an aside, you can find Falling for My Cowboy by following the link if you haven’t read it.)

Falling for My Cowboy

To read the rest of the newsletter go to my Substack!



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