I took my kid to the last fair of the season yesterday afternoon, the Ashland County fair. This is my Mom’s home town fair and she and I always go. We usually end up going after work so we can be there in the evening when everything is all lit up, but we took my four-year-old son Dylan with us this time and went during the day. D requested the Beatles in the car, which he has been doing more and more, so I put on an Anthology 3 disc, which is a lot of the White Album-era stuff but alternate cuts and studio demo tracks and discordant unrelated pieces, just for something different. After my Mom and I were done catching up on various things, we just sat and listened to the music. She started muttering how she really never liked the Beatles, a subtle hint that she wanted to listen to something else, and I asked if she wanted me to turn on the radio and she said oh no, it’s your car, listen to what you want. Then she started making up fake, stupid lyrics to whatever the song was that was playing, so I’m like FINE, I’ll shut it OFF, I should make you listen to the Grateful Dead channel! “Anything would be better than this!” she said, so I snapped it on. Their talk show was on, which I really like listening to sometimes. “Tales From the Golden Road!” I said, “Awesome!” My son piped up out of the back: “STUPID!” We went off into gales of uncontrollable laughter. I do not let D call things or people stupid and we sometimes talk about how it’s not nice to say something like that if he hears someone say it, like on TV or something (I’m actually pretty good about holding it together most of the time around him in terms of language). And then, as if to punctuate what he said, he loudly proclaimed, “STUPID AND BORING AND BAD!” I thought I was going to wreck the car, I was laughing so hard.
The kid can put away food. He is growing, mostly straight up, like a tree. He ate like three-quarters of a bucket of fries, drank a huge lemonade, ate an entire hot dog, a big dish of ice cream with sprinkles, and two pieces of fudge. Then when we got home he ate a piece of pizza, a bunch of cheese crackers and a banana. And right before bed he said he was still hungry. This is after eating like a non-stop breakfast that morning, an endless stream of toast and bacon and eggs and muffins and fruit and and and. Did I mention he is FOUR? Christ, my bank account hurts.
It was a fun ending to an emotionally and physically exhausting weekend, what with going to Dan the quarterback’s calling hours and seeing a lot of old high school classmates, dredging up now very old memories, but making some new ones too. Some bonds are forming that I never could have seen coming, and some old wounds, heartaches, and snubs still are touchy even after more than 25 years. How weird this getting older process is, as we slowly let go of past preconceptions and see each other as real people, with real feelings, vulnerabilities, failures and triumphs, happy moments and tears, and all of us having that bond of having grown up in that unique time and in that unique place that nobody else has with us, anywhere.