We had a busy weekend. I made many trips to the calendar to double and triple check that August hadn't snuck up on us. The thermometer has raced past 100 degrees every day since Friday and shows no signs of tiring. Most of our efforts were aimed at staying cool.
Saturday morning we walked up to the Ashland Strawberry Faire. By the way, when I looked up the definition for the word "faire" - I discovered it is the obsolete spelling for the word "fair". The Faire itself was far from obsolete. I was amazed that such a large event could be formed around strawberries and just how many people would battle 100 degree heat to partake in it. We made a brief exploratory stroll down the middle of the vendors, but quickly realized it was too hot to explore anything other than air conditioning. In fact, Elliott and I had to race home; pick up the truck and return to get Katie who was resting under a shade tree.
Elliott spent the rest of the day and night at grandma and grandpa Almond's house. They were kind enough to give us a reprieve from Elliott's sudden affinity for 3AM. Elliott spent most of his day memorizing the words and tune to "twinkle, twinkle little star". Mama spent the day at a baby shower for a friend and I watched the afternoon coverage of what was certain to be horse racing's first Triple Crown winner in thirty years, the first one I would be able to recall with any real detail. It always amazes me how these big events are always associated with such compelling human interest stories. It bothers me sometimes that it takes an interest in big events to cue us into the ever present stories of people.
As a dad, I couldn't help but be captivated by the desire of Big Brown's jockey Kent Desormeaux to win the triple crown for his son. His 9 year old son, now nearly deaf, has a disease that will leave him irreversibly blind in a few short years. Desormeaux was outspoken about his desire to give his son a picture to remember. That picture didn't happen. I haven't read any stories about his son's reaction to the loss or how Desormeaux felt about the undeveloped snapshot, but to me there were a couple of noteworthy if unexpected photos. There was the photo of a father pulling up a horse with far more concern about an animal's health than a man's ego. There was a father who in defeat, called the horse the greatest one he had ever ridden, humbly declaring "He (Big Brown) just didn't have it, some days are like that." To me it shows that pictures of winning often produce nice memories, but it is the pictures of losing that provide the greatest lessons. I believe someday his son will understand that - blind or not.