This year’s Fair was made really special by a gift from some kind friends. They generously gave us a sizeable amount of leftover coupons (the kind you use instead of money at entertainment events) and this put us in an unusual situation. James and I became the parents who say YES. Not a normal pastor’s family state! Normally we’re the “No, its too expensive” people, and the “Well, save your money and maybe you can…” folks.
Not this time, baby! We gave every Jarrett kid a whole fistfull of coupons, cued the spaghetti Western soundtrack (woo-too-woo-too-woooooo….waa, waa, WAAAA and Clint Eastwood, wearing his poncho, stalks out under the desert sun…), and took them to the Midway. The Heart of Darkness! And said, buy whatever you want.
Of course, it took them a while to soak in the meaning of such strange words coming out of our mouths. But, I tell you, when they got the message there was no holding them back. Sometimes you just gotta paint the town red.
Abbey scoped out the whole Midway with an, “I’d rather be reading a book” expression and chose the mildest fun house possible. She traversed the place with a skeptical expression and announced afterwards that rides may not be her thing.
Rob, who is a sandbagger, copped a free trip through the funhouse by going in with her and looking cute. Or something. He was trying to show her how to have a good time.
Rob is someone who knows how to have a good time. He stretched his coupons out to FOUR rides, not including his free tag-on through Abbey’s house. He also chugged a Coke and a Push-up Pop as fuel for the demanding Fun he was having. His last coupons were spent at the house of Wonders where you could see a two-headed turtle, a two-headed monkey, a real mermaid, an albino alligator, and other Amazing Wonders of the Exotic World. When we asked him afterward how many of those things were real, he assured us that ALL of them were (!), although the two-headed monkey was just a skeleton, not a live monkey; the turtle was real because you could see a head coming out of both ends, and the mermaid looked chewed, like bits of her had fallen off (?).
Being a person hugely susceptible to a good story myself, may I just say I am proud to have given birth to a boy who cannot resist seeing the two-headed turtle and the mermaid in the House of Wonders.
James told me later (he took the kids around the Midway while I used MY coupons elsewhere), that Amos and Corrie were very quiet and watchful, and had to walk ALL OVER the Midway before they could decide how to use their coupons. Amos eyed several things and finally worked up the courage to try the world’s tallest slide.
Look at his face! James told me Amos had to walk up 5 flights of stairs and he was nervous that our 6-year-old would chicken out right up at the top, but he DID it. And flew down the worlds longest slide with the worlds most charmed grin.
The rest of his coupons were swapped for $5 of greenbacks that he spent on a large, green, annoying, 3′ plastic blow-up baseball bat adorned with pictures of SpongeBob and other dubious sea creatures. He had a fantastic time whapping all of us when we weren’t expecting it as we walked around the rest of the fair.
Corrie was nervous about going on a ride herself, so she paid for Rob to accompany her into one of the fun houses. (How does he do it?) She came out covered in bubbles!
And purchased her VERY OWN BAG of cotton candy. None of our children have EVER eaten an item of Fair food that they didn’t have to share – normally you get 1/7th of the treat and your share is always lumpy or missing the cheese or lacking enough icing. But not this time!
Look at that sweetie! She asked, and paid, and ate nearly the whole bag like a real, independent human being. That girl has a lot to teach me.
James and I had given most of the coupons to the kids, but there were enough for him to have a Fletchers corny dog and a beer. I spent my coupons at the butterfly house, which was breathtaking. I left the camera with him, so my adventures are visually unrecorded. Helen came and admired the butterflies with me.
As a side note, the price of admission for the butterfly house also got you a tour of the snake house. Hmm. And, I kid you not, almost every snake cage had a white mouse quivering with fear in the corner. About the third cage Helen said, “That snake will be surprised when the mouse bites him!”
After the coupons were spent, there was still a good bit of running around to do. And much sneaky whapping with the SpongeBob Bat.
Abbey spent her last ones on a chocolate-dipped frozen banana.
Do you know how much fun it is to be the people who say YES?! You should TRY it sometime! – Katie