I am looking forward to the Orange County Fair more so than usual this year. I'll be taking my little one for the first time.
At 4, she's never been. But it's all she's talking about. And let's just say she's a talker.
I'll get to see Costa Mesa's marquee event from the best vantage point of all, the eyes of a child.
We spent much of Thursday evening discussing the fair. We looked at the website, which has videos and images of the attractions, games rides and confections.
She was thrilled to see that there's a petting zoo. Like most kids, she loves goats, pigs and other barnyard "friends."
But what are these alpacas? she asked.
I told Natalie that they are like llamas.
She knows lamas from one of her favorite children's books, "Llama, Llama, Red Pajama."
"Are they bigger or smaller than llamas?" she asked.
Are they soft?
I think so. (Though they do tend to spit)
Natalie also wanted a full description of the rides and games. She's in that age of questions, questions, questions.
What kind of rides do they have?
What kind of games do they have?
What kind of prizes can I win?
My answers varied, but I basically told her they have a lot of each: tides, games, prizes.
And then there was the food. She's finicky, but she likes things fried and food on sticks. The fair combines these pleasures.
I've done the fair plenty of times. I've gone with friends. I've gone as a journalist. But I've never gone as a father — and I am guessing that's the best way it's meant to be seen.
I was reminiscing about fairs past, as the Daily Pilot planned its annual, pull-out-the-stops coverage.
Looking back I mostly remembered the food, that feeling of leaving the fair too full. I remembered the rodeos. A concert or two.
But then there's one experience that someone else recalled for me. Deep in the 1990s, I interviewed — or perhaps more appropriately interviewed by — a psychic at the fair.
I wrote a reporter's notebook in the Daily Pilot about my "reading."
I had pretty much forgotten about the eerily accurate fortune-telling experience that took place that summer day, but not everyone else did.
I got an e-mail from former Daily Pilot Editor Tony Dodero, now a friend, ribbing me about "a young John Canalis" and his story about a fair psychic.
I blushed when I saw his e-mail. A good editor never forgets.
Well, I can't foretell what will happen at this year's fair, nor do I keep in touch with any psychics who can, but I am willing to make a prediction: My daughter will have a great time.