Just goes to Show…

“I thought this was meant to be a fun day,” Master Seven whined as we dragged him into another pavilion.
“I thought you liked the animals?” I asked, surprised.
“The alpacas were hilarious, remember?”
We were at the Royal Hobart Show.
I’d also thought he’d enjoyed looking at the baby cows, the hatching eggs, the random ostrich.
But maybe that was just me wanting him to.
Let’s face it – most kids these days aren’t ‘farm’ kids.
Master Seven loves dogs, and he loves tormenting cats, but that’s as far as it goes.
Unless farm animals can be remote controlled, drive karts or be blown up by alien forces, they’re just not that interesting.
Not to a seven-year-old boy anyway.
But still, I’d hoped.
I’d hoped he’d say: “Mummy, I’m not actually fussed about banging the crap out of people in the dodgem cars. I really want to see some sheep shearing.”
It was the same when I was a kid – my brothers and I had impatiently trudged through the animal halls to please our parents, before unleashing our enthusiasm – and our cash – on the rides and show bags.
“The animals are what it’s all about. They’re why it’s called the Show,” I’d explained to Master Seven as we’d dodged through the pooey floors of the cattle sheds.
“Because farmers gather to ‘show’ their animals.”
“And to show their bags?” he asked.
I sighed.
The show bags.
We’d passed prams with literally dozens of them dangling from the handles, being pushed by parents who looked like they could least afford it.
Master Seven had brought his own money and promptly picked a $20 Maltesers bag.
A quick calculation in my head convinced me we could get the lot cheaper at Chickenfeed, but that wouldn’t be the same, would it?
And I snavelled up two choccy bags myself.
When it came to ride time, well I thought I’d softened as much as I ever would.
The Ferris Wheel and Dodgem Cars were my limit.
But with the wind hurling around the dangling carriages of the Ferris Wheel, I decided to give it a miss.
And, after getting banged around by teen bogans in a dodgem car, I decided it was the last time I’d ride those too.
The problem for Learner Dad wasn’t being soft – none of the rides were scary enough for him.
Believe me, this wasn’t all talk, I’ve been to Dreamworld with the guy.
So we wandered down sideshow alley, paying five bucks to pick a duck and win a prize you wouldn’t pay two bucks for.
“There’s no free stuff anymore,” Learner Dad complained.
“Remember when you used to get free show bags with stickers and rulers and things in them?”
I did remember and used to love the fact that those free bags meant I could go home with up to ten show bags as a kid.
Several hours – and a couple of dagwood dogs – after we arrived, we left.
I glanced at Master Seven in the rearview mirror, excitedly lining his treats out on the back seat as he gabbled on about the rides.
What had begun as a boring day for him turned out to be an exhilarating one.
And, despite his lack of enthusiasm for the animals, despite the rip-off show bags and sideshow games, despite the rides being too soft for dads and too scary for mums, despite the lack of free stuff, and despite the dirty, dirty dagwood dogs…
Learner Dad and I had a great time too.
Just goes to show…

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