It's amazing how exhausting a 20-pound, 2-foot, irresistible little girl can be when you're carrying, chasing, watching or following her around the Neshoba County Fairgrounds.
Without question, 19-month-old granddaughter Addi Claire Bailey was the highlight for us at Cabin 16 during the opening weekend of Mississippi’s Giant House Party. This was her first fair with free reign and she exercised it accordingly. Last year she could just sit in your lap and take in the sights. This year she's a tiny tornado of constant action.
Her father, step-son Marshall Bailey, often refers to her jokingly as the two-foot beast. It seems appropriate when she's emptying the contents of the bookshelf, ice chests and ripping down every picture off the refrigerators with magnets flying through the air just because they're there.
Saturday during the arts and crafts show she kept us all hopping, touring all the booths on Founders’ Square. Her favorites seemed to be the "whirligigs" - windmill like toys that performed all kinds of actions if a good breeze turned the propeller.
We tried not to hang around too long at that booth, because Addi Claire’s methods of making them move wasn’t necessarily as the builder had designed. I was trying to save some money for funnel cakes and other desirables, so I surely didn’t want to have to make good on any destruction she seemed intent on creating.
Anytime there was a brief lull in the action she would yearn for the “bee” ride, one of the handful of words she speaks with great clarity. She and Lisa sing the “bumblebee” song around the house to the point that I hear it in my sleep. So naturally when she spotted the “bumblebee” merry-go-round-like ride on the midway, few other things would suffice.
My late father-in-law Gale Denley and cabin-mate Sid Salter would often reflect on the expense of the kids running through the doors with hands out screaming for midway money. I’m afraid Addi Claire has gotten an earlier than expected start on that practice.
Sunday morning we inspected the antique cars during the annual car show on the square, including a ‘51 cherry red Chevy pickup, an open top 1975 Ford Bronco in mint condition, a breath-taking shiny black Mustang GT and a ‘78 Corvette I would have killed for in high school.
Of course few of those seemed to mean anything to Addi Claire. She was more fascinated by the tiny dog that kept trotting by.
She never sees a dog that she doesn't insist on offering a hug and a kiss - from the tiniest Chihuahua to a four foot Great Dane. There seemed to be no shortage of them at the Fair for her to share affection with.
We visited the petting zoo; the rodeo (where the horses and cattle were just big dogs to her); played in the sawdust; climbed on the ice chests; went up and down the stairs a few thousand times, including a few tumbles; danced to the music; blew lots of bubbles; and crashed hard every night.
I didn’t think the Fair could get much better. Addi Claire proved me wrong.
You may email Joel McNeece at email@example.com