Grandview has an Ox Roast every fall. I’m not sure when the tradition started, or when it turned from Ox to pulled beef sandwiches, but as long as we’ve lived here, there’s been an Ox Roast. I think the first year that we went was when Leva was a baby, but she couldn’t ride any rides and the “Ox” wasn’t really that tasty and we had no reason to support the schools by winning goldfish or big plastic owls that we didn’t want, so we didn’t go back. Until this year. This year, when Mr. Scranton started talking about how great it was and the kids started jumping up and down screaming “we want to go to the ox roast! we want to go to the ox roast!” without having a clue what it was. What the heck, let’s go!

We get there, and Megan Stanley, nursing a tired Luke (who we find out the next day had just been diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever – whoa) says, “Get the wrist band.” It was, in retrospect, fantastic advice, and advice we would have not appreciated until after we had spent $2 on every silly 10 second ride and run out of money had we not heeded said advice. I’m so glad we got the wrist bands. The kids started on the airplane sharks – a dumb ride that goes around in circles while kids ride around in old bombers with very convincing bullet holes in them. Then the circling bathtubs, which made Hattie make a sad face and then look down at her lap until the man stopped the ride and let her out. So far, not so exciting. But then! Then we found the bounce house and Geert and Hattie were allowed to bounce and jump and flip as long as they wanted. And Leva found the tall slide with the burlap sacks and went down 150 times. Then she found the swings and Geert found the slide and he went another 150 times. Then Geert disappeared and Brad and I had small heart attacks searching for him – telling the carnies and anyone we knew to look for him, only to find him riding non-chalantly and alone in a bathtub (which again, wasn’t even a good ride). And this whole time we were rather watching Leva and Geert go on these rides while holding a squirmy Hattie, when one of the carnies (every single one of whom was missing at least one tooth and smoking reds) said she could put hattie on the swings with a seat belt. Then it was on – Hattie rode the swings, first with a frozen, white knuckled look on her face (bless their hearts, they even kept it slow for her), then cautious attention, and then freedom as she’d gaze ahead, wind blowing through her hair. Over and over and over, until she had her fill and decided to tackle the giant slide. She’s TWO! Leva carried her sack for her and she’d slowly slowly go up the stairs, traffic jam behind her, then the nice man at the top would help her with her sack and make sure she got on without tumbling down the slide, and off she’d go! Frozen face, cautious attention, freedom. She’s two. And she went on the swings and the slide by herself. I’m so so glad we got the wrist bands.