As I mentioned in my last post, we spent Sunday and Monday in the town of my college alma mater -- Ithaca, NY. We happened to be in town for the Apple Harvest Festival held on The Commons. I can't recall ever going to one of these when I was a student and living in Ithaca, but it seems to be an annual tradition. Besides lots of apples and foods prepared with apples there were some other attractions including a live band, a Ferris wheel and a pony for pony rides. The first thing we encountered as we approached the commons was the Ferris wheel. As far as Ferris wheels go this one was pretty small and looked a little rickety. Someone asked Zoë if she wanted to go for a ride on it and without a moment's hesitation she said yes and ran to get in line. I was surprised at her enthusiasm and lack of fear. Whoever asked her if she wanted to go on the ride had no intention of actually going on with her and everyone else including husband chickened out so I was left to take her. We waited on line in the drizzling rain for about 15 minutes and then finally it was our turn to get on. Zoë was completely fearless as we spun up into the air over and over. "I can see New York City!" she cried happily, mistaking one of the few tall buildings in Ithaca for the NYC skyline. Then the ride started to slow down and somehow we ended up stopped at the very top of the ride. Anyone who has ever been stuck at the top of a Ferris wheel knows this can be a little disconcerting. Initially I was pretty calm figuring that we would get going in a minute. After a few minutes it started to get to me, but I tried to hide it. Then Zoës turned to me and said, "I'm getting a little frightened." Honestly, she said it just like that, very matter of factly. I told her to just hold onto me and we'd be fine. She wrapped her hand around mine and snuggled a little closer and that seemed enough to satisfy her. By the time we reached the ground my knees were a little shaky, but she was just as excited as ever and laughing and laughing.
I should not have been surprised when she gamely hopped on for the pony ride or dragged her father onto the dance floor like she had been doing these things all her life, but I was. When did she get so brave?