Yesterday was our annual trip to the Red River Ex. Things have been so busy lately and with our summer trip coming up, I suggested to the children we skip it this year. That was met with the same response I would get if I suggested we pull out all our fingernails for fun. We had difficulty finding a day that worked for everyone, but in the end Friday worked out; even my niece Tia was able to come despite the short notice. So it was all meant to be, but I wasn’t quite as excited about it as I usually am. Before we went, Dale, my neighbour, and I were all sitting out on the deck for Happy Hour and it was so lovely and relaxing. The thought of the madness and chaos of the Ex seemed overwhelming. Next year, we’ll do that differently. It was after 6:30 by the time we left, so none of us were at our freshest.
It was a busy night at the Ex; it was almost a 30 minute wait for the Niagara Falls ride. Neve was in an uncooperative, unadventurous mood and refused to go on it, so I sat and waited with her on a nearby bench. It was facing west into the blazing setting sun and I was squeezed in between big sweaty strangers, holding Neve and four sweatshirts on my lap. The seat of the bench tilted down 45 degrees, so I had to brace my legs the whole time to keep us from sliding down. The large man beside me kept moving closer to me and I couldn’t move over, so feeling his hairy sweaty arm against mine was awesome. When Dale and the kids finally got to the front of the line, Neve and I got up to watch them. We noticed the worker guy was giving them trouble, so I went to see what the problem was. It turns out that we were supposed to exchange our ride card (which we bought at Sobey’s in advance) for individual ride tickets at the Ex ticket booth, and the guy wasn’t going to let them on the ride. Eventually he did, but the crazy thing is that the exact same thing happened last year. When will we learn? Probably never, because we always get a free ride out of the situation.
|worth the wait|
Once we exchanged our card and got legit tickets, we did all the usual rides. We are all about tradition and never vary from the usual. None of the kids are crazy about scary rides, which is bad in that the adrenaline rush is lacking, but good in that I don’t have to go on them either. My pride wouldn’t allow me to not go on a ride that the others would go on – I have a tough time admitting I’m too scared. Neve even refused to go on the ferris wheel this year, even though she’s been going on it since she was three (later she regretted not going). Last year, Dale, my niece Bailey, and I mustered up the courage to go on the Mega Drop. Bailey is in Honduras for six weeks, so I threatened her sister that I’d make her go with me, but sadly I didn’t have the energy. Plus I was really scared.
The guy who mans the big slide has been at the Ex for as long as I can remember. He's always at the slide, and apparently never takes a break because we see him every single year. I remember him because he's always very vigilant about not allowing children under a certain height on the slide. I feel close to him; he's seen my children grow up. It seems like just yesterday he was banning Spencer from the slide for being too short, and now it's Neve that is forbidden to ride without a paying adult. Tia and Chloe are as tall as adults and more responsible than many, but Neve couldn't ride with anyone under 18. Anyway, one of these years I will talk to him and we can reminisce about the good old days. Or maybe I'll just take a photo of him every year, starting this year.
|The annual stand-there-and-smile-in-front-of-the-ferris-wheel photo. |
Looks like Tia's breaking the don't-bend-your-arms rule.
|This is to prove I didn't sit on the bench all night - on the Polar Express|
See you next year, Red River Ex and Guy Who Works at Slide.