"No mamaw, that not the doctor! That guy is a magician."
We worked our way through the village at the unprecedented speed of a 4-year-old guide. We spent two full minutes in the blacksmith barn because there was a small flame, and 21 seconds in the woodworking shop because...well...nothing was on fire. We spent 8 seconds in the pottery shop because once the pot makes one full resolution on the potter's wheel, what else is there to see really?
I walked on a pair of irregularly shaped handmade wooden stilts because apparently it was fun to stagger around 6 inches from the ground on sticks in 1836. We played in the doctors kitchen with fake food for eternity, and the kid refilled my battered miniature tin teacup over and over with imaginary water from the copper tea kettle.
Cayden and I tried out the miserable beds at the Eagle Inn. At the kids suggestion we pretended to be asleep. Papaw had to enter the room and say "time to get up!" and I had to groan "oh, I don't want to go to work!" and Cayden stretched and said sleepily "I don't want to go to school!". We went through that scenario twice.
Outside the Eagle Inn, Cayden chased a chicken and papaw chased Cayden. Papaw is not light on his feet, nor does he have the lightening quick maneuverability of a chicken and a four-year-old.
Finally it was over. Except for one last thing.
The hot air balloon.
"Cayden, do you want to go up in that balloon?" Seth asked. He pointed at the enormous cable-bound balloon with the hanging caged basket.
"No papaw. I too scawed for that."
"Ok then." His papaw isn't pushy with things like hot air balloons. It was nearly closing time, so we went to the car.
Seth strapped the kid in his carseat.
"Can we go up in the bawoon?"
Nothing like the ambiguity of a 4-year-old.
We purchased a season pass. We intend to go back to Conner Prairie. As soon as Papaw's chicken-chasing hips recover.
Theresa Timmons' column appears every first and third Sunday. She is an Elwood resident and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.