So, what did YOU do today? Same old, same old, or something out of the ordinary? Well, I did something today that I've never done before and may never do again, but it was totally worth it!
This year, the International Plowing Match is held in Roseville, Ontario. That's pretty much right down the country street from us! I've been seeing signs for it for months now: Official Site of the International Plowing Match, September 2012. Hmmm. Whatever. Who wants to go watch fields being plowed?
But then I started checking into it because curiosity got the best of me. It started to sound like a lot of fun, kind of like a typical Ohio fair, but maybe even better!
I showed Fred the website and thought that maybe he would be interested, but no. He kind of dismissed it completely when he heard that it would be $17.00 per adult and $5.00 per kid. "Not worth it," he said. Oh, I was terribly disappointed, but I knew that if it didn't hold any interest to him, we would certainly not be going. Sigh. A once in a lifetime opportunity to go to an International Plowing Match down the drain.
Over the weekend, we got to talking about it again after our prayer meeting and Corina mentioned that she and her girls were going to be volunteering at the IPM so they would be going every day! They live in Roseville, so it's quite convenient for them to be there. Then Rick mentioned that maybe he could get a free ticket for me, if I would be interested. If I would be interested?! You bet! WooHoo!
He shared the free ticket with me and guess what?! I went this morning! And oh, what a morning it was! First of all, there had been thunderstorms overnight, steady rain early morning, and now it was time for me to go (by myself - no husband, no kids! Best way to do it, in my opinion, so that I could see what I wanted and at my own pace), and it was still raining. I drove down New Dundee Road to the official parking area and was directed up a very muddy hill in a field across the road from the Tent City, as they call it. I parked, jacket pulled up close and umbrella already in full use. The other attendees and I clambored aboard the trailer of a tractor that drove us down a very muddy hill, onto the road, and then down into another very muddy, very hilly, very scary field. Unbelievable MUD everywhere and so very thick and sticky. There were no seats on this trailer, so we stood, holding the rails and holding our umbrellas as we drove the 30 minute path to Tent City.
Sparing you details, let me just say that I have never seen so much mud in my life! Little boys in rubber boots were having a hay day (there can be no pun intended because there was NO hay - only mud at this point). Fashionable women were having coniptions because their beautiful shoes were getting sucked into the muck, and the dear elderly attendees were trying so hard to walk without slipping and sliding in the ooze.
I had limited time, so I zipped through as many tents and displays as I could, considering I was slipping and sliding through the ankle deep mire as much as everyone else. It was not an easy trek and it was actually more of a workout than a leisurely stroll, I'll tell you that much! Soon, my time came to an end and I headed back to the gate to catch an out-going tractor that would take me back to the van. I was (un)fortunate enough to be a solo rider on a trailer with a young driver who I think wanted to show off his tractor driving skills. He warned me to hold on as the ride would be bumpy and then he took off! Oh.My.Goodness! It's been a long time since I've been so terrified for my life as I was today! This guy was trying to go fast so that he could gain momentum on the deep-muddy hills and he was just flying...as was I! My shoulders were killing me from holding on so tightly and my thighs were burning, just trying to keep my balance and my feet from slipping. Many times my feet even left the floor of the trailer as he plowed right through the muddy ruts! A few times he glanced back to see if I was still there, I guess. I couldn't even respond to him because I was just holding on for dear life and not able to even breathe at times! All I could think about was all those elderly people who would have to ride these wagons back to their cars in this horrible, horrible situation.
We finally pulled up to my stop and I let the driver have it, politely of course! I told him that if he wasn't careful when he brought the elderly people back, he'd be dealing with some serious injuries or even worse! He apologized and said that he hoped they would have a better plan in place by the end of the day. Sheesh! My legs are still hurting me from the torture I had to endure on that wild ride back to the van!
If that weren't bad enough, it was still raining at this point, so the parking field was now a parking mud pond. I tried to back out of my parking space and got totally stuck in the mud. I tried and tried on my own, but to no avail, so I set out in search of someone to help push me. I asked the volunteers standing there if they could help push my van out of the mud and was told, "I'm sorry. We're only volunteers. We're not allowed to help you." Oh. Then who can? "Maybe one of the security people." And they would be where at this point?!?! Plan B: I flagged down one of the tractor drivers who kind of looked at me bewildered because I wanted to talk to him. I asked if he could give me a good push to get me out of the rut and he said, "Sorry, ma'am. We were told we can't help anyone, but I'll let them know at the gate that you need some help." Oh yeah, right. As if I would be willing to wait around to see if that would actually happen.
I was left to move on to Plan C. I jerked the van into reverse, shoved one foot out the door and as ladylike as I could, I pushed with all my might into the now calf-deep mud and revved my engine with the other foot, all while the volunteers and the tractor driver stood by watching. I'm proud to say that I got myself out of the mess and couldn't get out of that place fast enough!
Despite the rain and the tractor ride of fear and my volunteer audience watching me dislodge the van from the mud, I thoroughly enjoyed my day at the International Plowing Match! It was totally my type of event and I loved it! I wished many times that Mom and Dad and Grandpa could have been there, too, but on a much nicer day, of course. I also wished that I didn't have to leave early due to another appointment, and that I could have had a pass for a few days so that I could see it all! It was so worth the free ticket and the mud and the experience. I guess I'm just a country hick at heart.
And that was my day.