We snorted with laughter during the pig races.
We plugged our ears at the demolition derby.
We ate things no one should.
We tossed darts at balloons, not boards.
We patted the woolen coats of alpacas and goats.
But my favorite moment during daddy-daughter day at the Orange County Fair wasn't found in the attractions everyone knows so well. It was in something smaller, a time a parent would remember but a kid would forget.
Let me tell you about it.
My 4-year-old girl and I were wandering the grounds after a too-long spell in the sun at the derby.
I wanted to go home. She didn't. Just try and drag a kid away from the fair before they're ready.
So I searched for an oasis. That ice museum sounded good.
Guess how many people had the same idea?
So we wandered into one of the hangar-like buildings and found not only cooler air but beanbag chairs. The Children & Families Commission of Orange County had carved out a nook for story times and was handing out free books.
They handed me a flier suggesting what to read 4- and 5-year-olds. "Read early, read aloud," the flier stated.
There's a cause I can support.
So my kid plopped down. I followed. The nice women working at the exhibit suggested we pick out a title.
My daughter wanted one about "Wow-Wow Wubsy," a cartoon character popular with the toddler set.
We read a couple of more on that beanbag and I marveled that my kid — who loves being read to more than anything else — wanted to do stories with Dad when so many exciting rides, games and attractions beckoned outside.
But that's my daughter. She likes words, both hearing and speaking them. "Quiet" is not a word any would apply to her.
On the way out, the women insisted we take a book home. They were giving them to anyone who asked.
We took the book — and a nice memory. At least for me.
When my daughter told my wife about her day at the fair she talked about pig races, petting zoos, food, rides and games. She talked about goats, even "Weird Al's Brain," which we didn't visit but walked by.
Not a word about the books.
She has her memories. I have mine.
JOHN CANALIS is the editor. He can be reached at (714) 966-4607 and firstname.lastname@example.org.