When I moved to Dallas, I began to hear faint murmurs of a place, a place full of mystique and intrigue and bedazzled ball caps. I started to notice groups of women gather around excitedly like high school girls going to a Twilight convention, and I’d overhear the hushed whispers, and wonder- what IS this Canton? It sounded magical. Were there unicorns there? Was it some sort of support group for women where we’d all watch The Notebook and cry together? I realized soon that whatever this “Canton” was, it only happened once a month, and then I became convinced that it was a place that men sent women during that time of the month, herding them into cars and shouting “UNCLEAN!”, while they go home to watch the football and eat hot wings.
But then, I decided I must explore this Canton. Because of the glazed over look that people would get when they spoke about it, I decided that just in case it was some sort of hedonistic cult, I’d better take Wes along. As our car crested over the hill, I could see the glint off of hundreds of RVs, and I heard a lone banjo in the distance. What sort of new world had we stumbled upon? We got out of the car and began to walk. At first, we thought we must have gone to the wrong entrance, for it appeared we were walking in the middle of a field of abandoned car parts, but then it became clear. These car parts were for sale. We walked further, and the tables of stuff just seemed to go on forever. I saw so much that day, things I didn’t even know existed. Every once in a while, I’d pick up something, a cookie jar or an ornamental gourd or a planter made out of longhorn horns, and I’d look at Wes. He would say, “Do you want that?” and I’d say “I don’t know. It’s cute but I don’t know where I’d put it” which I would come to find out later is the official slogan for Canton. After about an hour of this wandering, Wes reminded me that he was promised fair type snacks, so we stopped for a corn dog. We then started to explore the covered areas, where we were met with the smell of candied pecans, wood stain, and spoiled children. We passed by an extremely ugly baby in a stroller, and I was startled when it barked at me. Was that a dog in a stroller?? Why yes…it was. As we walked, I started to get caught up in the glitz and glamour of tulle petticoats and personalized styrofoam cups, but Wes was getting restless. We left soon after that, and I stared longingly out my window and vowed I would return, without my sidekick who hates shopping. Don’t be offended by his lack of interest in you, Canton- sometimes he falls asleep on the couch at 8:00 pm, and as far as I’m concerned, people who fall asleep on the couch early at night are shallow and untouched by life’s deeper mysteries.
Over the years, I have returned to you Canton, and I have never regretted it. I usually am sent with a warning to not come home with any animals, and that is why I just convince my friends to buy rabbits instead. It’s not your fault that those rabbits produced so many many many baby rabbits. Nor is it mine. No matter what that friend may tell others. Moving on…
I love you Canton, I truly do. No where else could you find a Santa who is silently judging you-
I can’t believe you brought your dog without a stroller.
Or a somewhat disfigured Ronald McDonald?
You ain’t got no legs, Lieutenant Dan!
But this-this might be my favorite “reason” I love you-
Do you mean maybe some scooters are allowed? Are you being sarcastic and you mean all scooters are allowed? Are you winking and meaning only the cool bedazzled scooters are allowed? Is there a secret entrance that the non scooter people don’t know about? Is there an exclusive club with a special knock and handshake? Do you have to know the secret word? I bet it’s “funnel cake” or “pillowcase dress”. How does one gain “access” to this secret club? So many unanswered “questions”!
Never change, Canton. Someday I will be an old lady, terrorizing the young’uns with my erratic scooter driving too. I can’t wait.