7-year-old Stephanie stood on her tip-toes, desperately trying to see the woman in the trailer as she worked her magic. Her daddy looked down at her and smiled, “Do you want to see how she does it?”
Stephanie, in awe, only nodded her head. She felt the strong hands of her father lift her up from under her arms and place her on his shoulders. He didn’t do that too often these days. So often, he was too busy to spend a great deal of time with his little girl. She knew it was for a good reason, though. She understood how hard it was for him to be away from her so much.
Morgan Glass was now working two jobs to help make ends meet. At home it was just the two of them, but there were also a lot of hospital bills to contend with. At the age of seven, Stephanie certainly didn’t have a grasp on everything, but she knew that her mommy had been very sick for a long time before she passed away last year. She also knew that those bills caused her daddy to worry a lot.
Stephanie spent a lot of her time, when she wasn’t in school, staying with her grandma. Grandma had told her all about the carnival that she would be going to tonight. Throughout the day Stephanie would hear stories about the carousel and the Tilt-A-Whirl. She heard all about the different kinds of food like the fried candy bars and the funnel cakes. But mostly, she was looking forward to the cotton candy.
But it wasn’t just the sugary treat that Stephanie was looking forward to. She was excited to be able to actually spend time with her daddy. At home he seemed sad so much of the time. They both missed mommy, but she thought that daddy seemed a little worse. At least here, at the fair, they would be able to forget about being sad for a little while.
Sitting on her father’s shoulders, Stephanie watched as the lady inside the trailer spun the paper cone around and around the inside of the machine that kept spitting out thin strands of pink sugar. Eventually those strands grew to become a huge puff of pink that the lady handed over to the little girl. Stephanie’s eyes went wider as she finally held the cotton candy in her hands.
Her daddy passed some money through the trailer’s window and then walked away, still carrying Stephanie on his shoulders. She loved the view from this high up. She could see over everyone. She watched the crowds on the fairgrounds as she picked off pieces of candy and popped them in her mouth.
“You know, I made cotton candy once,” her daddy told her.
“Really?” This news excited her. If her daddy knew how to make cotton candy, maybe she’d be able to have it at home, too.
“I sure did,” Morgan said, laughing at the memory. “I was working the cotton candy booth at a carnival that my high school was having to raise money. I made a huge mess of it. I got the sticky pink junk all over my arms and I never did make the cotton candy come out as pretty as the stuff you’ve got.”
Stephanie laughed at the thought of her daddy being covered in cotton candy. “Can we make it at home?”
“I’m sorry, sweetie,” he said, “you have to have a special machine like the one that lady had back there. But, I promise that every time the fair comes to town, I’ll bring you here. Even if it’s just so you can get some cotton candy. Does that sound okay?”
“Okay,” said Stephanie through a mouthful of fluff.
Morgan laughed at his daughter. “How does it taste?”