Friday afternoon I raced up north to make the Annual Douglas County Fair Demolition Derby. Like Christmas or Thanksgiving, the derby has been a long-standing tradition in my family since I was old enough to climb the bleachers surrounding the muddy arena.
Last weekend’s show was spectacular. A lot of cars and lots of big hits. The basic premise of a derby is simple and putting on a show is easy as running into things. The only unexpected twist came when I volunteered to take my friends’ kid to the restroom inside the 4H building.
I’m cool with children, but there’s a reason we don’t have any. Generally I avoid getting myself into situations where their safety or behavior is my responsibility. But somehow I found myself standing under the fluorescent lights, outside the bathroom, waiting for K to do her thing. I could hear the derby cars churning in the mud and the roar of the crowd. I checked the clock on the wall. K finally emerged.
“Did you wash your hands?” I asked, trying to mimic the parents around me.
She didn’t answer. Instead she grabbed my shirt and pulled me toward the entrance to the main building—the opposite direction of the exit toward the derby.
“I want to go in THERE!” she exclaimed, dragging me with all of her evil little kid strength.
Within seconds I knew I was in trouble. Turns out the 4H baking competition had taken place earlier that day and all the goods were on display. Cookies. Cake. Pie. If it gives you diabetes, it was there and it looked tasty. K went absolutely nuts.
She ran to the cookie display and almost grabbed one of the award winners, “I want that one,” she screamed.
“Don’t touch,” I said, trying to hold her back.
“Why?” she asked.
“Because they’re award winners,” I said, well aware that my explanation was crap.
From there, we made our way around the displays and K was completely respectful of each creation. She may have poked one or two, but I was just relieved that she didn’t grab anything and start stuffing her face. Eventually, after a little bit of negotiation, she agreed to go back to the derby with me. As we made our way toward the door, she took one last look at the room full of sweets.
“What do they do with all the cookies and cakes?” she asked.
I didn’t have an answer for that one. I considered a couple of lies. Maybe they donate it to charity? Or perhaps they’ll bring it to your house if we talk to the right people? Instead, I left it open and contemplated the question as we walked toward the growling motors of the derby.