When I was growing up, Labor day wasn’t a day off or a change in the seasons or even that last day before the school started up again (yay for potato break!). No, for many years Labor day meant one thing to me and one thing only: the Bath Fall Fair.
Then it was awesome rides and tons of games and candy apples and booths and bingo and cotton candy (oh, and the horse pull). And the crowd was so big you sometimes had to push your way through. Now, in recent years, the rides are few and small, the same three games return year after year, and the candy cart is a table setup under a portable tent. In fact, the only two events that seem to draw similar attention to what they did in the past are bingo and the horse pull – go figure.
Is it that my perception of the fair was that much different through younger eyes? Or has it really become that less popular over the years? Probably a little bit of both but, either way, I feel a little sad walking around the crowd that seems more sparse and less excited every year. It’s a sign of the times, I know, but it still makes me think back to a time when people were amused by far less.
This year, I decided Oliver and I would go to the fair. I thought there might be a ride we could go on together but otherwise there would be lots of things to see and noises to hear. And there’s cotton candy. Fun, right?
He was suitably impressed for about 45 minutes – the sound of the rides and watching the kids go round and round; the lights; the screams and laughter of the kids; the “hosies” at the horse pull.
Then came mommy’s fatal mistake: we played a game. A game with balls. I thought I was golden… the only thing Oliver loves more than balls is cars so how could this go wrong? I handed him the three tennis balls and told him to throw one. He did… once. But he quickly realized he liked those balls too much to throw them again and protested loudly when mommy decided we shouldn’t hold up the lineup behind us any longer.
He never really recovered. I tried all my distraction techniques but he had decided if he couldn’t have those balls, he wasn’t having anything to do with the fair. The crowd didn’t seem so sparse when they were watching my screaming baby and I pack up and leave in a hurry.
Oh well, maybe next year I can try again to push my childhood memories onto Oliver. But only if they still have the one thing that seemed to excite him… the tractor pull.