Being a grandparent makes you thankful for one big thing. It makes you thankful you had children when you were young, because if God had somehow decided that homo sapiens should have children late in life instead of early in life, the human race would have ceased to exist long ago.
My two grandchildren, ages 6 and 4, just spent a month at our house. They actually are really good little kids, but they have the combined energy of a nuclear reactor and hurricane. Plus the curiosity of 1,000 cats. It is constant movement and questions. This was much easier to handle when we were 30 years old than it is now that we are on the north side of 60.
One of their new experiences during their summer vacation in Troy was the county fair. They live in Denver and had never been to a county fair. I’m sure they probably have county fairs in Colorado, but my grandchildren’s parents aren’t county fair kind of people.
I’m not really a county fair kind of person, now that we get down to it. I didn’t raise large or small farm animals when I was young — in fact, I had all kinds of allergies so just getting near the fair barns set me off. I stayed away from them.
I’m not big on rides like the Zipper and I wasn’t so good at winning prizes for my girlfriend at those games. Plus, who wanted to toss rings at canes? I think the last time I was at the fair was when my children were young.
But when the fair rolled around this year our grandchildren were here and we were looking for something to distract them. So we loaded up the van on Saturday morning and went to the fair.
The first thing that struck me was how it all pretty much looks the same. Yes, there are some newer, nicer buildings for the livestock but I never went back there anyway so what did it matter? The fair still has the same kind of rides and the same kind of food booths and the same old grandstand. Thankfully, it also still has milk shakes made by the Miami County dairy people. Best in the world.
We showed up late Saturday morning and immediately were disappointed to find out the rides didn’t start until noon. We had to kill some time before the kids got to do what they really wanted to do. So naturally, we headed over to the animal barns.
Our granddaughter was enamored with the horses and rabbits and other creatures. Our grandson, not so much. He must take after me — he figured the smell of the pig barn, for instance, trumped any need to actually see the creatures in action.
We made a stop under the grandstand for a little snack and then I made my way to the ticket booth. My choices were $20 bracelets for each child or buy tickets at $1 a pop. There really weren’t many rides there and it looked like rain so I shelled out $20 for tickets and we hit the rides.
My grandson was really enamored with what basically was a little portable playground that looked like a castle. You went up some steps, punched a few punching bags, jumped in some plastic balls and then went down a slide. It took 3 tickets. He went through the whole thing in about 30 seconds, tops. I figured that was about $1 for every 10 seconds. Not a good investment. I guess I should have gone for the bracelets.
The kids rode the carousel and went on some little cars that go around in circles and that was it! Out of tickets in about 10 minutes. I learned my lesson. I was getting ready to go back and get bracelets for them when the thunder started and the rain started coming down. Perfect timing! “Ah,” I said, “What a shame. It’s raining. What do you say we go home and get some lunch?”
Everyone thought this was a good idea and we scurried to the car and headed home.
Another successful adventure! We got home in time for a nap — not for the grandkids, they don’t take many naps anymore, but for “Bapa.” Keeping up with kids, after all, is a lot harder than it used to be.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.