Last year, when we took Clay to the local Grange fair, we planned the trip a little better. Fresh batteries in the camera? Check. Notebook and pen? Check. Out the door by 10 a.m. to avoid the heat and, more importantly, the crowds? Check.
This year, not so much.
It was past noon by the time we hit the fair this past Saturday. Those few hours combined with the heavy rains the day before, made for crowded walkways and long lines for food. It was hot and muddy and the batteries in our camera ran out as soon as I tried to take the first picture. (Fortunately, my cell phone served as a backup.)
None of this affected Clay’s energy level. He was chomping at the bit as we headed to the exhibit areas for the chickens, roosters, rabbits, goats and sheep—veering into every building we passed. He was moving a thousand miles an hour by the time we reached the animals, and I had a white-knuckle grip on the back of his shirt. It was like water skiing—without the skis or water, just a sea of people who were moving a lot slower than we were. People with the crazy notion of stopping to look at the hundred different kinds of bunnies. Clay was motoring, and I was land surfing in his wake.
After whipping through the animal exhibits and a high speed chase through the Belgian horse stalls—those are some big horses—Clay found his way to the John Deere tractors. (You could let Clay loose in an International Harvester factory and he would somehow find a John Deere tractor.)
While he “drove” the big tractor, we decided to see what he thought so far.
“So cool so awesome,” he typed on the keyboard he uses to communicate.
Since it was well past lunchtime at that point, we headed to the concessions for the safe choice of a hot dog, french fries and a soda. (Skipped the deep fried turkey on a stick and the chocolate-covered cheesecake, also on a stick.) With Clay reenergized—as if he ever really runs low—we “strolled” through the historic tractor collections, the hot tub vendor and assorted other exhibits and found ourselves at another vehicle that Clay needed to sit on.
After one more speed walk through the animal exhibits (I think I may have seen a cow, or was it a llama, as we whizzed by) and the purchase of a t-shirt with, what else, a John Deere tractor on it, we sat Clay down to see if he had had enough.
“What do you think?”
“Sad because we are here,” he typed.
“So much people”
“Ready to go home?”
No need to tell these sweating, tired, slightly-nauseous-from-the-fair-food parents twice. We scooped up the bag with the t-shirt and kettle corn and sloshed across the fields to the car.
A few days later, when the mud had dried on our shoes and our stomachs settled, my wife checked in again with the little guy.
“How was the Grange fair this year?” she asked.
“So so” Clay typed.
“What did you like best?”
“The stables with the horses they were so big”
“It was crowded.”
“We’ll go earlier next year so there aren’t so many people.”
It’s a date.