My parents and I took the kids on our yearly excursion to The Fair the other day. Joshua couldn't wait to go, and kept saying "We're going to the Midsouth Fair!" and "Nicholas said he went to the Midsouth Fair last weekend." We went right after the daily after-school roundup and stayed for about four hours. Big Daddy does not like rides, fried food, or crowds of freaks, so The Fair really holds no charm for him. Loser.
Since it was wristband day, we (and by we, I mean my parents) shelled out $20 each for wristbands for the three older kids so they could ride an unlimited number of rides, and I bought a handful of tickets for myself so I could ride a few things with them, and the swings (officially called "the yo-yo") which is my favorite ride. It quickly became apparent that Joshua's $20 was wasted, because he refused to ride anything that leaves the ground in any fashion. No kiddie airplanes or hot air balloons, nothing. He rode the motorcycles twice, and the trucks. He and Somerset and Genevieve and I all piled into the interior of a giant honey bear's abdomen to spin around and around while also revolving around the ride's center axis. He slid down the kiddie version of the giant slide a few times, and he and his siblings went through the house of mirrors three times in a row, and that was it for him.
After the first ride, I realized that all of the operators just assumed I had on a wrist band and were not looking for my tickets, at least in the kiddie section. Eventually, though, I took Joshua's wristband off of his arm and bootlegged it onto mine. This done, I rode Calvin's first roller coaster with him. It was called the Crazy Mouse, and consisted of round cars on multiple casters going around a series of hairpin turns and up and down a couple of steepish hills while sometimes turning around backwards. It was bigger than the true kiddie coasters, but smaller than a real one. A few of the turns at the top make you feel like you're about to be flung out into space, and I had to close my eyes and think about how old I am to have become a wus. It was a major milestone for Cal, because he has inherited his father's temperment, not mine, which means that he tends to be anxious and expects the worse to happen at any moment. I'm always trying to help him overcome that without pushing him to do things that are too scary. I was proud of him for riding a few things that were a little outside his comfort zone.
When we got to the Yo-Yo, he was still undecided about whether he would ride it with me or not. He wanted to, but the fact that we couldn't sit in a seat together was holding him back. In the end, he decided to go for it, and settled for sitting right behind me. As we were lifted into the air, I heard him say "this isn't that bad." Then we started to really spin, and the seats started to tilt back and forth and swing out and back, out of line with each other. I worried that he'd be scared, but if I spoke to calm him, he wouldn't hear it. In a few minutes, it was all over and we had our feet firmly on the ground. "That was fun," he told me. Now he says it's one of his favorite rides.
I had a first at The Fair this year, too: I had my first deep-fried Snickers. I always thought it sounded gross, but at Andria's urging (Steph voted for a no-nut candy bar), I tried it. It was so good! It's all about the meltiness factor. I also had at least a bite or two of a smoked turkey leg, a funnel cake, a box of popcorn (the only Fair food Joshua would eat), chicken-on-a-stick (with a few dill pickles threaded in between the chunks of chicken), and two cups of $1 sweet tea from the 4-H booth. I like to support the farm kids, you know.
Just as we were about to leave, the sky opened up and dumped rain on the great unwashed, causing us to skip the petting zoo visit we'd planned on the way out. All in all, it was a satisfactory Fair visit, and possibly the last since The Fair is being either moved or canceled after this year. Assuming the Memphis city government can decide what to do with the Fairgrounds. Yeah, right.