In the hours after her death, the chicken she’d taken from her freezer to turn into some culinary masterpiece was still on her sink, defrosting…..waiting for her to come home. She never did!
None of us ever wake up thinking “Today could be my last day on this earth!” Do we? To be honest, I do sometimes, especially when I get a tray of chicken thighs out of my freezer to thaw. I bet Tarnia never imagined it to be hers.
We always believe there’ll be a tomorrow, maybe I’m a fatalist, but frozen chicken always reminds me to enjoy today as it could be my last! Sunday was one of those days.
We’d promised to take Dempsey to the Los Angeles County Fair. I had this weird feeling that something was going to happen, on a carnival ride…or that Demps may get lost in the crowds……or stolen. I can’t help feeling this way sometimes, it’s the chicken thing! :)
The day turned out to be picture perfect, the experience reminding me of the smorgasbord of life…..and every now and then we need a little chicken reminder to stop, smell, listen and look around. To take in the simple joys in life. Just in case……………..
We arrived at the fairgrounds with a multitude of other families, with strollers and wheelchairs, sunscreen and smiles. Dempsey’s rush of energy was palpable…and contagious.
The dull grey concrete of the fairgrounds had come to life. The giant Ferris Wheel was turning and the sweet aroma of kettle corn mixed with the pungent smell of cooking oil for curly fries saturated the air. Loud bursts of compressed air coming from the carnival rides prompted Dempsey to let out an eager, “Let’s hurry!”
And as I watched her run up to the first ride….”The Ghost Train,” it hit me that this carnival also reminded me of life!
The distant screams from inside the Ghost Train ride reminded me of how life sometimes scares us…with our unknown fate, or our awareness of it. How we often fear stuff we can't control……….
The monster slide was next, with its bright pink green, yellow, blue and orange bumps, Demps couldn’t help but get airborne as she flew down the slide on a dirty hessian bag…..reminding me of the peaks and troughs we tackle in life………………..
We wandered on and stopped to take a quick look at some of the local cuisine. Plump turkey legs sizzled and smoked in the hot sun, filling my senses with mouth watering delight. And they reminded me of how life is full of flavors and that we should savor every experience.
Dempsey rode the old fashioned carousel next, the wooden pig she parked herself on went up and down.......like life. Sometimes you want to get off but you can’t, and sometimes you don’t want the ride to end….like some days we go through.
We strolled down the alley of games where loud music and a scruffy looking man entertained children with a bubble machine. Dempsey raced around trying to catch the bubbles, giggling and popping the cloud of glistening bubbles that surrounded her. The tiny bubbles reminded me of life….in their beauty, simplicity and vulnerability.
We stood in line for the massive Ferris Wheel. Dempsey was on cloud nine, literally! As the giant wheel took us up to great heights we could see all around the fair. I looked, really looked out the carriage and beyond at how beautiful this world really is.
Then we went round and round and round and round, the ride becoming monotonous. I thought we were never going to stop or be allowed off.….……like life!
Onto the big red barn of Fairview Farms where there were pink piglets, lambs, yaks from Tibet and curious goats. Amazingly a cow had just given birth a few minutes before we wandered up to the metal railing.
Dempsey was fascinated as she watched the mother lick the after birth off the calf. And it reminded me of how fragile and precious life is. That it’s a cycle and that a mother’s love is instinctual and protective, no matter what the creature.
Dempsey spotted the Roller Coaster that was almost submerged in water. After a lot of nagging I was the lucky bunny that got the chance to get soaked. And like life, the roller coaster got the old adrenaline going, it was exhilarating as it sped along a tight curvy track then plunged down into the water, drenching us both and making us laugh. Like the twists and turns of fate we all experience. The rush was overwhelming!
So after four hours of fun, aching feet, stuffed toys and full bellies, we made our way to the Exit. But not before we stopped at one last food truck for my favorite…Cotton Candy (or Fairy Floss as we call it in Australia). You haven’t had the whole experience until you pop that luscious sweet tang of pure sugar in your mouth and relish in it.
It’s sweet and decadent, delicate and leaves you wanting more……A LOT like life!