Friday, 4 September 2009

Saving Sunday

Our first Sunday back from British Columbia and I was asleep, dreaming fitfully about John Cusack (a surprise because, even though I admire his work, he's not one of my crushes -- must've been the jet lag). I was rudely awakened by the Resident Fan Boy who was struggling to get younger daughter ready for church. Staggering into the washroom, I noted that it was nearly 9:20, and since the RFB usually leaves for church at 9:30, it was unlikely that younger daughter would be ready. (Elder daughter was dead to the world and flatly refuses to attend church unless she's teaching Sunday School.) I crawled back into bed and shortly thereafter heard the front door open and shut as RFB headed off to make his peace with God. This was followed by light footsteps descending the stairs and younger daughter's anguished "Daddy! wait!" Slight pause and a sad little lonely voice: "Sorry, Daddy..."

This was why, later on in the day, the Resident Fan Boy, younger daughter, and I found ourselves riding a bus into the Glebe under darkening skies. We decided, since younger daughter had had no outing that morning nor the day before when it had been pelting rain and her parents elected to watch hours of Kennedy funeral coverage, that we would take in the last day of the Super Ex at Lansdowne Park. Unfortunately, as we paid the $10x3 entrance fee, the heavens opened. We entered the midway as scores of people streamed out, like rats. With sinking hearts, we decided to eschew three $32 ride-all-day bracelets and instead purchased 22 tickets at $30, because a) each ride is 3 coupons; b) I only really like about five rides on the midway; c) Resident Fan Boy has vertigo; and d) younger daughter.....didn't want to go on any rides, she wanted to go home! This from a girl who has adored rides in the past, and to whom Disneyland was a mothership calling her home.

Gloom. As younger daughter strode off to stand by herself, resolutely turned away and arms folded, and the Resident Fan Boy's shoulders slumped in characteristic defeat, I looked wildly around for a way of salvaging the afternoon. I don't like many rides, but I adore the Tilt-a-Whirl, and standing there under grey skies and slackening rain, it occurred to me that this might very well be my last Tilt-a-Whirl ride. I got a cart all to myself (good thing as the outer edges were soaked due to the recent downpour),caught the eye of younger daughter who waved shyly, and failed to catch the eye of Resident Fan Boy who was pacing, well into a blue funk. The ride started up and slowly picked up speed, the cart rolled to one side, then the other; I waved to younger daughter and the RFB who by now was smiling bravely. Then the cart began to spi-i-in and spi-i-i-in and spi-i-i-i-i-i-i-in.... Bliss. With the crowds driven away by the rain, the ride seemed to go on forever. I radiated enjoyment, willing younger daughter to see. Aw, c'mon honey. You'd love this.

But she was adamant when I staggered off. Nineteen coupons left, so I boarded the Zero Gravity Wheel.
"You mean that one that broke off completely and killed everyone?" said the man who brightens my every moment.
"Yep," said I, defiantly, dreaming of an evening long ago. I was coming back from a dance when I was sixteen or seventeen, so my spirits probably needed lifting. The tiny midway in the parking lot behind the supermarket, was briefly open for Buccaneer Days, a local community do that included some guy who used to drive up and down the streets with a bull-horn one Saturday morning a year bellowing "Wakey-wakey" for the pancake breakfast, until someone killed him. Or so I like to imagine. However, it was a summer's weekday evening and no one was about but the operators, so I asked them if I could ride the Anti-Gravity wheel. And I rolled up into the night sky and down to the lights, all by myself, with the sweet summer evening air in my face. And as the sun broke through the Ottawa sky, I wondered if this was my last Zero Gravity ride.

We talked younger daughter into the merry-go-round which she rode with her father, and started to smile. Then all three of us got on the ferris wheel, using up our coupons and congratulating ourselves.

Heading for the exit, my attention was caught by a spiel inside the exhibition hall, and we saw two tiny and noisy kestrels being shown by a wildlife expert, who proceeded to produce a Great Horned owl, then a young Red-Tailed hawk (which don't have red tails when they're young, we learned).
Then I noticed that there was a petting zoo right next door, so we bought feed and younger daughter happily fed goats and sheeps and llamas, which is when I spied a booth selling local honey, including honey with Bailey's Irish Cream in it.

"Is it a sign of our age that we're enjoying the exhibition better than the midway?" I remarked to the Resident Fan Boy as we located the washrooms and promptly ran into younger daughter's music therapist and her daughters. Then we walked outside and found pens with camels, a zebra, and two wolves. Outside the entrance, a living statue artist named Kate Moir, dressed as a ghostly white Victorian angel, blew a kiss to a young man in the crowd, and he strode forward, took her hand and bent over it. I glanced at younger daughter, who couldn't bring herself to look directly at the spectacle, but smiled to herself in secret and shivered, just a little.


Bwca Brownie said...

HA! that great horned owl looks seriously peeved to be awakened in daylight. poor thing.

Persephone said...

I think the actual owl we saw may indeed have been ticked off! S/he certainly made a lot of noise!

chrissie_allen said...

Hey Persephone, that is a such a lovely, cuddly family tale. I love it. What a fantastic Sunday afternoon! Most definitely 'saved'
I'd say. It's funny but I can recall trying to tempt one of my reluctant offspring onto a ride by braving it on my own, some years back.
Ha! Things we do.
Thanks for sharing that!