Monday, August 3, 2015


My daughter's gift to me on my 79th birthday, Saturday--along with a truly beautiful copy of The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling and a painting by my grandson, Luka--was tickets to the Monster Trucks event at the Orange County Fair.  Monster trucks, it happens, are one of the current obsessions of the three and three-quarter year old Luka, and it was a joy to sit there with him in my lap, in good seats in the stands, to watch these monstrous, deafening  machines leap into the air over solid heaps of dirt and crush lines of cars with their massive wheels.  Sounds odd, for a would-be Buddhist on his eightieth year to heaven (nirvana?)?  Well, you have to have a three and three-quarter year old grandson to understand.  To see the sheer wonder on the face of this little boy is to be three and three-quarter years all over again.

It was hot and muggy at the fair.  The crowds grew in the course of the day and by the time we left, we were pretty much elbowing through the throng.  There were rides, of course...

... we bought a fistful of tickets and watched Luka braving the bumps and dips of the children's roller coaster and various other torturous devices; and joined in, the four of us, on one particularly stomach-jolting ride.  Otherwise, there were literally hundreds of stands offering food of every kind of food imaginable--with meat featured prominently at most, along with the usual deep-fried fare.  I was tempted by the roasted bratwurst, but settled, along with Ellie, Sarah, and little Luka, for the soft-serve ice cream.

Otherwise, it was a pleasure to wander through the tents set up for the real, original reason for the county fare: the livestock and produce.  There were more goats that a person could count, and sheep, of course, and pigs--one huge sow with a great four-day old litter of suckling piglets...

A longhorn bull.  And gardens with champion vegetables of all kinds.  All of which led to thoughts about how our human species has moved from the necessities of life to sheer, raucous, mind-numbing excess.

Luka at the park, on Sunday
Hardly surprising, after the vision of all that meat, that Ellie and I have decided to go vegetarian this week.  Sarah and Luka left us yesterday at noon, and the quiet following the storm of Luka's presence in our little cottage--not to mention the din of the fair--feels blissful.  The only sound, as I lie here in bed with my laptop, typing, is the trickle of water in the Buddha fountain, outside on the patio.  Oh, and the rustle of Ellie's New York Times.

And George's occasional snores and snorts.  Poor guy, he's noticeably aging.  We had to leave him at the vet's on Saturday, "for observation," while we went to the fair.  On our return, the doctor showed us an x-ray showing what she believed to be a cancerous mass in his belly.  She wants to do follow-up tests, with the prospect of eventual surgery.  But we're not so sure.  George has already outlived our other Cavaliers; at thirteen, he has reached a good age for his species.  Do we want to subject him to further intrusive medical activity, for the sake of a few more weeks, or months?  We think not...

No comments: