Our plan was for me to drive to my parents' house, an hour north of me, arriving by 7 a.m., then my dad and I would jump in the car and head for Sedalia, home of the Missouri State Fair and a good two hour drive away, arriving at the fairgrounds around 9 a.m. or shortly thereafter, just as the gates opened.
I did my part. I got up before dawn, showered, tossed a change of clothes and shoes into a bag for just in case, and took off. Did I let the fact that my brake light was on the entire way deter me? Nope. Hoping I had no reason to stop suddenly, I cruised along past soybean and corn fields, the rain I started out in tapering off and leaving mostly cloudy skies. When I got to my parents' house and went inside, they were in the kitchen, my dad reading the paper and eating grapes out of a big bowl, my mom pouring orange juice. I was anxious to hit the road, but my dad kept reading and eating grapes. Then my mom reached in a cabinet and pulled out a box of Cream of Wheat.
"I'm just fixing your daddy some Cream of Wheat," my mom said, shaking cereal into a bowl, adding water from the faucet and putting it into the microwave.
"I thought we were leaving at 7:00," I said, to which my dad said, "We didn't think you'd really be here that early."
The microwave dinged and my mom took the bowl out to stir it, only to find it was a big, gluey glob. She added more water, stirred some more, added a little more water, then said, "I have trouble getting it the right consistency sometimes."
"Measuring it usually works pretty good for me," I said.
"I used to do that, but it's quicker just to eyeball it," she said, and I decided to let it go and not point out that her method wasn't exactly efficient. Eventually, the Cream of Wheat was cooked AND the right consistency, my dad ate it, and we were finally off by 7:45.
It was a pleasant drive through farmland and tiny little towns, some of which were mere crossroads; the rain moved out of the area, and we arrived at the fairgrounds a little after 10:00. Now, here's a real perk of going somewhere with my parents, especially to a place with lots of people and parking is a nightmare: they have handicapped permits; we got to cruise right on up and park just a few rows from the front gate. Suh-weeeeet! I put on a hoodie and my dad put on a light jacket (remember the unusually cool temperatures?), then my dad took the cane out that I made my mom make him bring. He looked at it a minute, then put it back in the car, saying, "I don't think I'll need this."
"Uhhh," I said, but I let him leave it in the car, and we walked (very slowly) to the gate and went into the fairgrounds.
|Arriving at the fairgrounds. We. Are. Freezing.|
There were only two things I really wanted to do while there (I had checked the schedule of events online the day before): I wanted to see the pig races and I wanted to go to a presentation called "Aprons And Their Uses," because I could only come up with two - to protect your clothes and to use to gather eggs. My dad wanted to eat pineapple whip and see a little bit of everything (except the midway, as neither of us cared about that, although my dad remembered that when he was a kid they had sideshows that he wasn't allowed to go in and he would have LIKED to do that, but I told him I was pretty sure those were a thing of the past). Note: the only other thing he mentioned wanting to see was the antique tractor pull, but as he had to EAT A BOWL OF CREAM OF WHEAT before we could leave the house, we didn't get there in time for that.
We walked inside nearly every building and looked at exhibits. We watched rabbit judging (we were disappointed to have missed the chickens, but they left the day before to make way for the rabbits). We saw the Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion steers. We saw dairy cows, which my dad loves because he was raised on a dairy farm, but these dairy cows were assholes and wouldn't let him scratch them behind the ears like the ones he grew up with always did. We saw the Budweiser Clydesdales. WE SAW PIG RACES. We watched a tractor parade. We shared a barbecue pork sandwich. We ate pineapple whip, which we both agreed was okay but wasn't as good as we remembered it.
|Baked goods entries.|
|Fair Queen sighting!|
|Grand Champion steer|
|Mmmm. Pineapple whip.|
|Big horse, big picture.|
|This is Donnie. While all the other Clydesdales were standing in their stalls,|
Donnie apparently had tied one on last night and needed a nap.
|Trying to pet the Jersey cows, who were little jerks.|
|Passed Donnie later and saw that he had finally|
decided to get up and at 'em.
And we watched a presentation about aprons*.
We were both pretty tired by the time we were ready to leave, but my dad's tail was really dragging (and at 80, it's no wonder). In the four years since his retirement from the farm supply store, he hasn't walked much further than from his recliner to the refrigerator, and we walked and walked and walked (slowly, but still). He wobbled a couple of times, but he never fell, even without the cane. In spite of the cloud cover, though, he did manage to sunburn his face pretty good; we thought he just had a wind burn, as there was a brisk wind blowing out of the north all day, but we thought wrong (he has been doctoring himself by putting Preparation H ointment on his face to soothe it...).
Best Daddy/Daughter Date Day EVER.
|Waiting for the apron presentation to begin.|
|Apron show and tell. Check out the size of that suitcase!|