Sunday September 18th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the country fair.

Went to the Rock Creek Fall Fair with the family today. Met up with Becky, her mom, Natalie, and Emersyn, and spent pretty much our whole time there together.

Max and Natalie went on rides together, we watched a clown perform for a while, and we could not resist buying the kids cowboy hats. I think you might be able to figure out why:

The highlight came pretty early in the day though. So let me get right to that.


Becky and Adam have their two horses here on the farm now, so Natalie has grown up around them. I don't know how often she rides them, but I've seen her on one with Becky at her side a few times. She's got her own helmet and saddle and what not.

Max, on the other hand, has never been on a horse.

Until today.

When we first met up with Natalie at the fair she was super excited to show us where she was going to go for a horse ride. Max had zero interest in joining her. He did want to watch though.

The eight of us went back to the main area of the fair to look at the animals and watch the clown, and Natalie got her face painted as well. Then it was time for her ride.

"Max, do you want to go on a horse like Natalie?" Becky asked.

"No," he replied. And then he surprised me. "Because I don't have my helmet here - it's at home!"

"Oh, they have helmets you can use here," Becky told him. "Do you want to do it now?"

And then he blew me away.


I'm sorry, what? Where did this brave little man come from?

So we took them over. And, I have to admit, the entire time I was expecting him to balk once he saw the horse he'd have to get up on. But he did not.

I lifted him up (he even picked one of the bigger horses they had available) and walked next to him almost the whole time. Started out holding one of his hands, then I got him to hold the pommel with both hands while I had my hand on his back. Then, at the very end, I let go entirely and backed off a bit, letting the little cowgirl who was leading his horse around be fully in charge of things.

He had a frickin' blast:

He also said he wanted to ride again, on one of the other horses, after we had lunch.

Anyway. I was very proud of him. Not least because I am not at all comfortable around horses (the last time I was on one was as a child and I was terrified pretty much the whole time). He's been going through a pretty shy phase recently and it was so great to see him come out of his shell at the fair today.

Hopefully this will help him out in other situations as well. But even if it doesn't, it made for a great time today.


morganna said...

Barns and
Animals -- hay
Carnies barking; popcorn,
Cotton candy scenting the air
People press, staring at the prize winning
Food and flowers. Horses thunder
Through their races before
Their warm blankets
And barns.

Caroline Sloan said...

Here is a snippet of my county fair memories that I've observed and experienced over the years...
When I was little, going to the fair both gave me joy and anxiety. I loved the funnel cake, face paint, feeding goats, and driving my parents around in bumper cars. My anxiety came from some of my family members trying to force me on "scary" rides. I didn't enjoy (and I still don't enjoy) roller coasters. I know my Heather thought I was a baby for not at least trying some of the rides.

But when I look back now and think of the fair, I think of the fond memories I've had over the years. I've seen my favorite Christian artists perform, won an inflatable duck (nicknamed "Ducky"), won a goldfish (He is in my dorm now and has lived for 4 years), and witnessed my mom throw up after riding the Tilta-whirl, which she nicknamed the "Tilta-Hurl." It's been great.

Greg said...

@Morganna:I like the circular nature of your poem today, starting and finishing at the barn. It mimics the start and end of the day for me, which makes the whole poem a kind of self-contained reflection. I really like it.

@Caroline: your memories do indeed seem fond!

@Marc: it sounds like the horse riding was definitely your favourite part of the fair! Max looks like he's having fun in that picture, so maybe he's getting over the shy phase now? I shall look forward to hearing that he's opening the deer gate in order to let the moose in so he can ride them at home. It looks like a pretty good fair from the link too; the interactive axe throwing sounds like fun - but I guess that's for when the kids are older? :)

The country fair
Charles Asciugimento, Head of Building Security, twisted his face into a snarl so customary that it actually felt more comfortable than when his face was relaxed. The atrium of the Building was full of people and hay bales; there was a tractor parked by the wishing-well, and two of the shop-fronts had been opened and were being used to host four cows and eighteen goats. Now then there was a cluck as a chicken darted for cover, but then that was all masked by the roar of the chainsaws starting up for the log-carving competition. The smell -- the stench, he thought -- was incredible: sweat, animal odours, manure, wet straw. The last time he'd smelled anything like it has been that church in Mulb- no, he wasn't going to remember that either.
He stepped away from the balcony, regretting still that the organisers had insisted on moving the sculpture from the atrium that he used as a sniper post from time to time and walked down a short security-access corridor. The soundproof door at the far end opened as he approached, RFID technology detecting his pass-cards and responding. Inside, the noise muted by not entirely gone, he tried to relax, but the snarl just got deeper.
The door opened behind him and closed again and Samanthony came in. He was carrying two dead chickens, one in each hand, and he stopped short when he saw Charles.
"I hope you strangled them yourself," said Charles, unable to keep the loathing from his voice.
"Victims of the interactive axe throwing competition," said Samanthony. He swung the left chicken, revealing a deep gash in its breast. "The organisers are saying that someone changed the sign showing the age limits for entry."
"Of course they are," said Charles. "And they can't tell the difference between a 3-year old and 13-year old."
"Well..." Samanthony's body language suggested his might agree. "But then the same thing seems to have happened with the chainsaw carving competition."
"I be surprised if a three-year old could pick a chainsaw up," said Charles. He checked his watch.
"Other way," said Samanthony. "The minimum age was set at 70, they got no entrants at all."
"Shame. Right, give me those, you're going to be needed out there. I think the bull is due to arrive."
"Bull, sir?"
"To go with the cows. Literally, I suspect." Charles almost cracked a smile.

Marc said...

Morganna - that's some great atmosphere and imagery! And I think you've perfectly captured the feeling of being at the fair :)

Caroline - hello and welcome to the blog! Thanks for sharing this with us :)

I, too, was terrified of the scary rides. Thankfully my sisters and dad generally let it go, aside from the odd encouragement to give them a try. My mom was fully with me on the 'no way in the world' party :)

And I'm glad to see you've got so many positive memories as well!

Greg - yeah, it was my first time there and I thought it was pretty great.

Ah, good to hear from Charles again - it feels like it has been a while. And a perfect scene for him to return to as well :)