Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More Gray Hair

Today my soon to be 18 year old son got his motorcycle permit. I can already feel my hair turning gray! I am quickly reaching maximum stress level and he doesn't even have a motorcycle yet!

My mother survived this fear - her son was only 15 when he purchased his first Harley. Yes, it sat on the porch for several months before he could ride it down the road. Of course, this is the same son who set out for a month long bear hunting trip to Idaho instead of attending his high school graduation. But she is also the one who was able to force the bear hunting camp to give her an unlisted phone number of a police officer in California that my brother had followed out there when he forgot to call home one night. She is also the mother who completely lost it when I (at 17) announced that I was going to ride to Alaska on a motorcycle (I got the idea from a motorcycle commercial in the mid-1970's ). Of course, it never happened, but it was a good idea at the time! I wonder if it was the motorcycle or the fact that I was a girl.....

My fear isn't that my son will not be a good rider. He was 5 when he stole the riding lawn mower from my brother's house and drove it across the fields to his grandpa's. He was driving a tractor before he was 10 (I didn't find out about it until after he was 10). His dad let him drive on abandoned strip mining roads when he was 12 - after all he was already driving a tractor! He has raced ATV's and dirt bikes. He is a good driver. My problem is that all of these people who are coming down the road toward him don't understand that he is my baby and they need to be extra careful around him. For my sake. Please!

Monday, June 29, 2009

County Fair Update

Due to overwhelming success at the fish game, my son and his girl friend headed back there on Friday night. Saturday morning there was a 5-gallon bucket sitting on my kitchen table. They brought me 7 more fish. So by noon all 9 fish were in the garden pond. Three tried to escape - one was caught and returned to the pond, but the first two were quietly buried beneath a newly planted rose begonia.

My son, who doesn't like odd numbers, brought an algae eater from Wal-Mart, so now we have 8 fishes in our little pond. And a $15 water lily to satisfy our granddaughter who requested one. She wasn't very impressed when she saw what $15 buys in the water lily world (neither was I!), but seemed happy that it was there.

The fair has moved on to another town. I really hope somebody checks those bolts!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The County Fair

I hate to admit this, but I really hate fair week. It started when my son was young. I couldn’t wait to take him to the fair to ride the little children’s rides and watch him eat his first cotton candy. I had taken my daughter many times and we had lots of fun then and even more fun when she was able to ride the bigger rides with me. So, what happened?

Well, first of all my son moves faster than the speed of light, so keeping track of him in fair crowds was a chore. Then as I was watching him ride the little train around and around I began to notice the mechanics of how the ride operated and how it was put together. Wow. All those nuts and bolts and they move it every 7 days. Does anybody ever safety check these things?

When he was old enough to ride the bigger rides with us, everything seemed to spin up high in the air. The Scrambler was gone, instead we had a gynormus Ferris Wheel that I had the misfortune of seeing erected. No one checked the bolts and now my son wanted to go to the top of this piece of rickety machinery. I don’t think so. We finally compromised by going to watch the tractor pulls and demolition derby.

Then his next step was to go with his uncle and cousins. Now you can say I knew better, but his uncle really wanted him to go with ‘the boys’ and they were still little, so they’d be on the little kiddie rides – right? Wrong. They got there, my son went one way, his uncle and the boys went the other. That was the first year we started bringing things home from the fair. This year it was a girlfriend. My son was 12. She was 16. Her name was “my girlfriend” because he couldn’t remember her real name. When I found out she had a job and how old she was I asked if she knew how old he was. “Nope. She didn’t ask and I didn’t tell her.” When I wouldn’t let them ‘date’ she got suspicious and asked why and then how old he was, so that was the end of that relationship. It never got off the phone. The next year he brought home a rabbit. I spent over $100 on rabbit stuff – and my sister’s Great Dane gave the rabbit a heart attack when he knocked the cage over trying to get to him. Since then it’s been stuffed animals that mostly end up with (age appropriate) girl friends.

Last year was the first year he was able to drive himself to the fair and it was a battle all week. Of course, if he could drive to the fair he could drive other places and who was going to make sure that he stayed at the fair? My husband wouldn’t let me follow him – although we did one night. We were there about 30 seconds before my phone rang. “Why are you here?”

“How do you know I am here?”

“I heard. Are you checking up on me?”

"No, we came to see the tractor pull.”

“Then why are you standing by the Ferris Wheel?”

“It’s the first thing inside the gate and where are you?”

“I’m at the tractor pull.”

“Then how do you know where I am?”

“My friends told me.”

That’s the trouble with living in a small town and going to a small town fair. Everyone knows you.

This year, he has a job and is working long hours that require him to get up at 5 and 6 am., so the fair has lost some of its charm. But last night he went with his girlfriend (he didn’t find this one at the fair). I spent the evening thinking about how my little boy had grown up and didn’t have much time for mom and dad anymore. He hasn’t even asked if we wanted to go with him this year. About all the little toys he’d won over the years and given to all those silly girls. And mostly about how next year I probably won’t even know if he’s even thinking about going to the fair.

It was starting to rain as I left my meeting at church and I wondered if they’d have to close the fair and if my son would come home or just stay there until the rain stopped. As I approached the driveway I saw his car turn in. I parked behind him and watched as his girlfriend jumped out of the car with a giant stuffed animal. “Look what he won for me!!” I looked over at my son who was grinning from ear to ear. “Look what I won for you, Mom!” He was hold two plastic bags full of water – and two fish.

Wonder how much aquariums cost?