Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Best Daddy/Daughter Date Day EVER

My fairy godmother was looking out for me last week when my dad and I decided to go to the Missouri State Fair. Usually, temperatures in Missouri are in the 90s and the humidity high during fair time, but some delightful alignment of the stars (or the jet stream) brought a cool front to the area, making for perfect weather to go to the fair.

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!

Rabbit judging.

Grand Champion steer

Talking corn.

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.

Tractor parade.

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.
*About the apron presentation. It was held in the Women's Building, on a small stage with park benches for seating. We got there just a couple of minutes before it started, and the way the benches were arranged, plus the fact that only about ten other people were there to watch with us, we realized we were pretty much stuck there for the whole 30 minute presentation, whether we liked it or not. The presentation was done by a woman in her late 60s and consisted of her pulling apron after apron out of a large suitcase, almost all of which she had gotten at yard sales or were gifts from people who found them at yard sales, and holding them up for us to see, She talked about the pretty fabric, she told us that many of them were embellished with rickrack and pointed it out every single time an apron did, indeed, have rickrack on it, and she told us almost all aprons have pockets. She told us some aprons were made from feed sacks, but she knew nothing about the history of the feed sacks themselves. Not only had she done the apron presentation several times at the fair, she also went around to church groups and clubs and such and did the presentation, only THERE, she also played and sang songs that she felt went with the aprons she was sharing. For example, she kept a baggie with some flour in it in the pocket of one apron (remember, MOST aprons have pockets) and would then sing "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked A Cake." And after thirty minutes of watching her pull aprons out of the suitcase and pointing out of the obvious, the presentation was over and SHE NEVER TOLD US ABOUT THE USES OF AN APRON.

Apron show and tell. Check out the size of that suitcase!


  1. OMG you have a place in heaven for enduring the apron thing... I love that you and Dad had such a good day! Never even heard of pinapple whip but it looks like soft serve pineapple ice cream. Is it? You gotta love Donny at least he knows how to take it easy.... I suppose with that much beer in your system...

    1. The apron thing was hysterical! I should have taken video. We just kept looking at each other and saying "I don't think she knows much about aprons."
      Pineapple whip is just what you thought. It used to be sponsored by Dole and was creamier and better, but this didn't suck.
      It takes 8 Clydesdales to pull the wagon, but they brought 9 total, and we think Donnie might have been the understudy.

  2. # 3 to wear while cooking # 4 to wear while waiting for hubby to come home (wink) and # 5 when hubby arrives belt it out... " if i knew you were coming I'd baked a cake"

    sounds like you had a great day with your dad!

    I would have loved to see a picture of dad during the apron demonstration.....

    Priceless moments regardless :)

    1. Looks like you need to be doing apron presentations!
      It was a fun day, in spite of being trapped for 30 minutes looking at aprons.

  3. It sounds like you all had a mighty good time!

  4. Sounds like the perfect Daddy-Daughter-Date. Wished you would have been able to ask the apron lady on the uses, maybe she just forget telling you :-) Fair sounded awesome! So glad you enjoyed it!!

    1. It was a wonderful day, except for my dad getting sunburned (still not sure how he managed that, since it was cloudy all day). The apron lady said she was just going to tell us what each apron made her think about. Whaaaat?!

  5. My comment is gone!


    That poor, deluded apron woman.

    I want to eat the baked good entries (but only the ones without nuts).

    I want to be friends with your mother because I completely understand what a pain in the ass it is to measure. And I love Cream of Wheat, which I admit must be measured or it's a mess.

    1. Your comment got eaten?!
      Apron woman had a sidekick who did nothing but refold aprons.
      I love Cream of Wheat, but measure, measure, MEASURE it, dear GOD!