Monday, July 25, 2011
"Yeah!" Toby squealed, "and dinosaurs!" This sent all three girls into giggles, which greatly pleased Toby.
Next up was the dairy barn, where a teenage girl let us pet her small, brown cow with huge, wondering eyes. Toby was very brave until the cow lifted her gentle head to stare him in the face. "It's not gonna bite Toby," he whispered, reassuring himself. The swine barn was full of enormous, squealing pigs with wet, snarffling snouts. The goat barn held curious goats that stood on the rails of their pens and leaned their heads over to nibble our clothing. "Look, Naomi," I joked, motioning to the goats lined up at the fences to see us, "the goats think the fair is for people watching."
Matt's brother, Philip, joined up with us, and Emma glowed as she held Uncle Phil's hand and walked bravely through the barns. "Are you Uncle Phil's girl, Emma?" I asked. She smiled and answered shyly, "Yeah."
Matt agreed, "If they had a human head they'd look just like a centaur."
The sky was dark as we made our way back towards the gate, three hours later, but there was one more stop I wanted to make. The draft horse barn was filled with the most heart-stopping giants that the fair offered. Enormous Belgian horses, weighing over 2000 lbs, towered over us and leaned their awe-inspiring heads down to inspect us as we passed by. "Look at their hooves!" I urged Hannah, pointing to the hard, glossy feet the size of Toby's chest.
Hannah agreed, "Those could sure squish a Toby!"
Naomi's pace slowed and she began to complain as we trudged back to the entrance, but the sight of the horse competition ring all lit up under the dark sky quickened her pace to a gallop. We stood by the fence one more time, admiring the girls and their horses, and then it was time to leave.
"Did you like the fair?" I asked Hannah as we passed the quiet trailers and made our way through the rows of cars.
"I still like it!" Hannah insisted, with her usual desire not to let the fun die, "I like the lightning bugs and the street lights and our shadows on the ground."
The girls were drifting to sleep as we drove the quiet county roads on our way home, but Toby's eyes still glowed with excitement. "We saw all those horses!" he reminded me when I turned to smile at him.
"Yes," I agreed, "and cows, and goats, and bunnies, and sheep...Which animal do you like best?"
Toby didn't hesitate one second. "Tigers!" he yelled.
Maybe a trip to the zoo needs to find its way to our August calendar, but the Fair must have been a close second.