For ten days in August the Ekka takes over a pocket of Brisbane, packing it to bursting with colours, light, sounds and tastes. We hadn’t been for years, either busy with work or a new baby, or avoiding the notorious Ekka flu. This year, at two, The Monster seemed old enough to take it in, resilient enough to ward of any bugs.
Carried close in a sling he took it all in; little blue eyes huge with wonder. As we ambled down sideshow alley his arms bopped to the bad music while pointing at the whirling rides, exclaiming “go fast” and nodding profusely when asked if he’d like a go.
Finding a kid size rollercoaster I held him tight as we zipped and zagged up and down, round and round. Tucked up under my arm I half expected tears but each time I asked if he was okay there was a distinct nod and a little voice: “yes”. Dodgem cars with daddy were equally beguiling. So much sound and movement. For a rare few minutes The Monster was still, close to overwhelmed by it all.
If anything might capture Lachie’s attention more than fast rides, it would be animals. The Animal Barnyard was awash with children, and mildly stunned animals. Cows, lambs, baby goats, chicks. All, for the most part, The Monsters height. Not knowing which animal to meet first he ran from lamb to calf, to baby goat, laughing and smiling at their seeming nonchalance. We stepped in when the gentle patting got a little too enthusiastic, or little fingers got too close to the wrong ‘end’. And when a goat decided it needed a well-earned sit-down, The Monster crouched down next to it and promptly told it to “get up!”.
After a well-needed hand wash there were strawberries and cream and a dash for the exit before it all became a bit too much.
When The Monster woke this morning, the first words out of his mouth: “go Ekka, again!”.
Ekka, we will see you again, next year.