At some point in the middle of the green lemon-lime snow cone we were sharing, Pooh became Frog and I became Toad. These, of course, are that lovable amphibious "odd couple" from the Arnold Lobel children's books of the 1970s.
The aforementioned transformation occurred yesterday at a picnic table situated in the middle of the carnival midway at the Missouri State Fair. Sooby, sitting near us with her own cherry snow cone, seemed unaware that the change had occurred, as did the throngs of fairgoers parading past.
It was pretty well requiring all of Sooby's concentration and acrobatic skills to balance her own
mound of syrup-saturated crushed ice perching precariously atop the paper cone. She did pretty well unassisted, but Pooh and I were sharing partly because he is only three and partly because I like lemon-lime better.
I am pretty sure these were the kids' first snow cones, and they added a dose of cold, sweet delight to a wonderful but very warm day. I am thinking I was pretty brave to face the midway alone with two preschoolers, but we had survived the predictable crises: Pooh, at barely thirty-six inches tall didn't measure up to the height requirements of some of the rides he wanted to go on, so there were times when I had a kid on each of two nearby rides, running back and forth to fetch one before another got off. So by the time I morphed into Toad, I was ready for a break in the shade and the chance to take a load off my clammy webbed feet.
Pooh and I probably did a little too much poking at our cone in an attempt to get the ice to melt so he could sip the gooey green liquid from his straw. Before we were quite ready to abandon the project entirely, Frog's paper cone developed a hole in the bottom, requiring some innovative thinking. This is when I began to hold the dripping cone above Pooh's open mouth, a technique he referred to as "drinking the leaks."
In Lobel's stories, which usually reinforce the themes of friendship and problem-solving, Frog is Tony Randall to Toad's Jack Klugman. Frog is lively and green, while Toad is warty and brown; Frog is always upbeat, while Toad at times borders on the curmudgeonly. So, what I am saying is that, in these new roles Pooh assigned to us in the middle of his first snow cone, we were pretty appropriately cast.
When we finished, we stashed our soaked, disintegrating cones in a nearby trash can, shaped like a clown whose mouth gaped open to receive our offerings. Rested and refreshed, we made our way back through the whirly mechanical wonderland of kiddie rides--through dragons and circus trains, through race cars, boats, and planes. We took one last ride together on the carousel, its painted ponies pumping up and down to "It's a Small World After All."
A small world indeed. A world where Frog and Toad are fast, forever friends who aren't above the less than ideal but sometimes necessary process of drinking leaks. A world where magical spells are cast by something as simple as a lemon-lime snow cone.