It’s been a long winter around here. Although our grounds have yet to (and probably will never)be christened with snow we’ve definitely felt the effects of dark days and rainy nights. For the most part we’ve been homebound and coming up with new ways to play Chutes ‘n Ladders. Have you ever played this game? Kind of a one-note symphony, you know.
So, in an effort to expose my kids to something other than the walls of our house we decided to head to the local Home and Garden Show at the county fairgrounds…location of the annual county fair. Despite numerous efforts to convince the kids that there would be no Ferris Wheel or Tilt-a-Whirl there was a bit of disappointment painted in their little faces when we pulled into our parking spot.
“What is this?” Avery asked.
“It’s the Home and Garden show, Av,” I answered.
“But this is the fairgrounds,” she whined.
“Um, I know. I told you this wasn’t a fair. Remember?” I asked.
“Yeah, but I thought you were joking,” Avery said.
“Nope. This is it kid. Kind of like Disneyland, ain’t it?” I teased, spreading my arms out wide.
She looked around the parking lot scattered with hot tubs, John Deere mowersand storage sheds and answered, “Not really.”
Oh, boy was this going to be fun.
We headed in through the doors welcoming us to “Your Home and Garden Solution Center” and were immediately sucked into the crowds of people who were there for the free candy, complimentarymouse pads and door prize drawing opportunities, made particularly obvious by their bulging shopping sacks bursting full of their booty.
We snaked through the aisles perusing various landscaping displays and pest control booths, salivating over walnut cabinetry and marble kitchen tiling. The kids were salivating over the snack shack.
There’s always a bit of bittersweet appreciation when visiting these shows centered on home and garden improvement. Each and every vendor presents their best at design and product while the convention goers try to bite back the sudden onset of guilt at all the areas in their homes that have been seriously neglected. People begin murmuring their plans to rectify the situation as soon as possible while imagining the potential for greatness in their backyards or guest bath.
Jer and I are no exceptionto this manner of thinking. Typically after witnessing the splendor of home and garden design,we excitedly go back to our home with visions of grandeur only to thenpromptly dismiss the ideas and settle back into merely passable. Yep. We’re real go-getters.
As Jer and I were dreaming of outdoor kitchens the kids, mainly Jack, were focused on one thing…Clifford the Big Red Dog, thereplaying a gig for an insurance company. I noticed we were approaching the giant red canine as Jack began jumping up and down in his stroller. (We’re real PBS fans around here…it’s all educational and stuff. And being that Jack’s morning programming options run between Clifford or the ShamWow infomercial, we made the obvious choice. We already own the ShamWow.)
“Mom, mom. It’s Clifford!” Jack said.
“Yep, buddy. He’s right there. Do you want to go see him? Give hima hug?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said as he shot out of his stroller, beating feet towards the not-so-giant version of his cartoon hero.
Jer, Avery (standing back, in her first show of growing maturity) and I watched as Jack shook hands, fist bumped and fiercely hugged Clifford. Everyone around “ahhed” at the cuteness of this little display of adoration. Jack told his new buddy “goodbye” and headed back to the stroller, jumping in with a jaunty little nod at the insurance representative as if to say, “keep up the good work.”
We finished up at the show and began the trek towards the car.
“Did you like meeting Clifford, buddy?” Avery asked.
“Yeah. He was nice, ” Jack answered.
“You sure gave Clifford a big hug,” I teased.
“Yeah. But he’s just a guy in a suit.”
“What do you mean, Jack?” I tentatively asked.
“I could see his face through Clifford’s big eyes. It’s just a guy. But he was real nice,” Jack answered, matter-of-factedly.
Basically, Jack just knowingly (and eagerly) hugged some stranger in a suit. Great. Every mom’s dream come true.
So, I not only have to be on the lookout for middle-aged men cruising the school zone in a van I also now have to keep an eye on cartoon characters in costume. Lord help us.