Valerie posted a blog about country stuff and animals being part of our [very informal] heritage. Or rather our kids' heritages. Apparently her kids cry at the animals at fairs and such. I tried to comment on her blog and realized I was making a whole post of my own so I decided to re-address the entire thing on my own blog. Y'know, so all of you can read it. You're welcome, hold your applause.
A bit of back story: we grew up on 2 acres surrounded by berries and cows. We were in the country. Over the years we had cows, ponies, horses, dogs, cats, and gigantic gold fish (which is a whole other story). I don't know if it's entirely accurate for me to consider myself a country girl but I do. Especially when you consider the flip side; I am NOT a city girl by any means. I tend to explain it to people, when it comes up, as "we would ride our bikes on the packed dirt roads of the berry fields, hang out by the irrigation ponds (those dumb boys we grew up with swore that you could see the leaches on the water. I don't know if it's true), and my neighbor was a butcher. Yes, I know butchers could live anywhere but this particular butcher worked at home. Does that give you a better idea?
Also, my high school had a barn. Once I trot that one out people get the idea. We were in the country.
Anyway, the big thing to do in Lynden is to go to the fair. At least, if you're a kid. There is virtually nothing else to do all summer because there is nothing else around but more berries and cows.
I have been to several other fairs, some of them in "country" areas. Way rural areas like the crap hole area we're in now. (secretly it's growing on me but don't tell. It's only because I know there's an end in sight.) These fairs all have barns for cows, among other animals. The one we are close to has one cow barn. One. Maybe it's the size of the local population, right? Hmmm... Okay, the one in Spokane has like 2 barns for cows. Seriously. Maybe three. I doubt it.
The Lynden fair has 2.6 million cow barns.
Maybe that's an exaggeration but it's a lot. And the horses, don't get me started. The local fair has 2 rows of pens for the horses. They have maybe a total of 30 horses. I'm guessing but I bet I'm fairly accurate. The Lynden fair has like 4 horse barns. And they are big. BIG. They have them arranged by types of horses, they keep them done up all pretty, they have shows for pulling the carriages/carts/whatever you call thems. They have barrel racing every night.
Anyway, as kids we would follow along behind our parents WHINING about getting to the carnival part. Because we were too dumb to realize the animals were the fun part and the carnival was the scary part. The older I got the more I wanted to spend time in the barns and the less I wanted to ride the rides. I guess it really came to a head the year I threw up over the double ferris wheel edge and it landed on a girl I knew. I didn't like her but I did know her. She still doesn't know it was me who did it. I have ridden very few rides since then.
I don't know what it is about the barns. I love the smells. I have a favorite kind of cow. (Jersey) I have favorite horses and I love to look at their manes and tails all done up in bows and fanciness.
Brandon was allergic to something in the horse area. We never figured out if it was the horses or the hay or the dust or a combination or what. We found this allergy out by going to the fair when we were engaged. There we were all settled in for the show in the grandstands. We had walked the barns and been fine. Then the barrel racing and other pre-show horsiness (ha ha ha!) started. As they ended that and the stage started to roll forward for Mark Chesnutt to start his performance, Brandon stopped breathing. Or breathing regularly. He started gasping and wheezing and turning slightly purple. So we left the grandstands and found the EMT station (under the grandstands). Those guys were not prepared for what came in the door at them. They scrambled around, finally gave him a HUGE dose of Benedryl and sent him on his way.
It worked but we did not get to go back to the show. I understood. (in retrospect, I never should have married a guy who can't do horses. Apparently flashing neon signs couldn't get me to see this)
This was also the end of fairs with Brandon for quite a while. I still took Alex and the girls as they came along. Once Brandon started going with us again he'd just wait well up wind of the horse barns while we walked through looking at all the goodness and thrilling as the stallions got all worked up and whinnied so loud.
So do my kids cry when we go to the fair? No. My kids have realized this is part of what makes summer worth living through. This is the reason we don't give in and melt in July; we would never get to the fair in September.
The great thing about Eastern Washington (there's just one great thing) is the fairs have rodeos. Last year we went to the fair and caught the rodeo. The kids got so bored/cold/over it we had to leave well before Aiden and I were ready. This year we got smart. We put the fair early in our day, left after lunch and barns and 3 rides each, and made the kids EARN the right to go back to the fair for the rodeo that night. We stopped on the way back and got snacks out the wazoo and packed coats. We got all dressed up, country style, with the girls all wearing our heeled boots and the boys wearing boyish things.
Why did this work so well for us? I think it is due to the fact that they all have different reasons for wanting to go to the rodeo. The girls like to see the rodeo princesses and queens. They watch as those girls go racing by on their horses waving and smiling all made up and sparkle-y. We got to wave at them all last year and the girls were hooked. Alex, he likes to go because of the princesses and queens. Yeah, my boy has discovered girls and those country horse riding girls are apparently at the top of his list.
Oh well, at least they don't cry.