While on the cape, we spent one of our first evenings taking in the sights (oh, so many sights) at the Barnstable County Fair. All of Cape Cod is in Barnstable County, and the fair itself attracts locals and visitors alike. While there, we were treated to all the usually fair fare: fried dough, candy apples, cotton candy and other delicacies prepared on carts, carnival rides on the midway, and–our favorite–the 4-H animal shows. My mom and I agreed that we remembered this fair being bigger in our memory; even so, it was just the right size for Henry, and he was elated to be there.
The first order of business was checking out all the animals. Henry loves animals, and sings Old MacDonald like a champ. He was over the moon to see the rabbits– lops, dwarves, and big Rex rabbits– he was fascinated by them all.
After the rabbit show came the poultry. We moved from cage to cage, holding Henry up so he could see each hen clearly. They puttered peacefully around their cages, waiting patiently, I suppose, to return home to their owners and a more free-range way of life.
Did you notice a change in Henry’s expression? A sudden glimmer of concern, perhaps? It’s not that he has a thing for fur over feathers (though I would totally understand if he did). It’s that while we were enjoying the chickens, something happened. Something that shook our two-and-a-half-year-Old MacDonald to his core. A rooster crowed.
It seems that all of the humanoid animal impersonations in the world cannot adequately prepare a suburban subdivision kid for the horror of actual animals actually talking to each other. He could barely even stomach the sweet little chick that this 4-H-er offered him to pat.
“He’s from the suburbs,” I explained weakly. The 4-H boy just sniffed and shook his head.
Henry spent the rest of our trip around the barns (cattle, goats, sheep, and the rest) doing his best impersonation of a terrified koala, clinging to any adult who could protect him from the horror of a mooing cow.
As much as Mark and I loved being wrapped in his tiny arms, I was a little devastated. I love all animals, fear none of them, and was growing more and more concerned that Henry’s impending first pony ride wasn’t going to be the joyful prelude to eventual pony ownership that I’d envisioned.
Please. Don’t. Neigh.
As it turned out, no one neighed. After a few times around the hot walker on a small pony mare (who barely had enough energy to move, never mind chat), things loosened up a bit. I tried to sell that pony ride as hard as I could.
We even got a sort-of smile.
You know what, though? To Henry, animals who talk<animals who aren’t inclined to talk<animals who can’t ever talk. Case in point: