Thursday, 1 May 2008

Show season metaphors

It’s the day before the start of the Marburg Show and excitement is in the air. The showgrounds are looking busier every day. Porta-loos have popped up like mushrooms, flags are fluttering and sideshows are beginning to arrive. We drive past the showground to and from school and the children lean eagerly to that side of the car to see what has changed overnight or during the day. Blithe Girl told me that the Marburg Show is her favourite and that it is even better than the Ekka (the Queensland Agricultural Show in Brisbane).

The school children have been working on their show displays for weeks. Every year, the local schools each do a display that is judged as part of the schools competition. Then there are individual age-level competitions like handwriting, poetry, posters etc. There has been some tension over the last few years as Marburg’s display has been tucked away in a corner, (usually partially behind the display of the Hibiscus Society) but we have been told that we have a better position this year. I don’t know if the administrations of the schools take the competition very seriously, but the kids always rush to see which school won and what their displays look like.

As we drove past the showground one day this week Blithe Girl told me that reading is a lot like going to the show. Some people pay their entry fee and race across the show, taking a bite of something here, checking out the displays quickly then heading off to do something else. In contrast, when she reads it’s like getting into the show, riding every ride, slowly eating everything, looking at every display, wondering and playing then finally leaving reluctantly and slowly with many lingering backwards looks.

One of the things that makes me happiest in the world is that my children also love books and words and talking about books and ideas. As I go to the show this year, I’ll have this image in my mind of words and ideas swirling around the food stalls, enjoying every taste, sight and sensation in the same way as I savour reading and writing.

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