He was right at the top, looking down, grinning that cheeky grin we were so familiar with and having the time of his life by the looks of it. Thank goodness he was safe...I'm going to kill him!
We both mentioned about how he, and my other younger siblings, would spend time with Faith and I when they were young. We'd take them on picnics, to the zoo, movies and all sorts of things including the annual State Fair (Royal Adelaide Show) which is what this post is about...
The day I lost T-dog
(No one actually calls him that.)
We arrived at the gate tickets in hand, and when prompted filed through and into the show-grounds. I ushered the 9 year old Taraz, and my 5 year old sister through for a day of fun with big brother and his girl Faith.
There's something exciting about the fair, the food and rides and all the stuff to see. That first sniff of fair food, we'd eventually be shovelling into our mouths, reached our noses and it seemed like the day would be awesome. A good family day with my girlfriend and siblings.
Being the responsible adults of 18 and 19 years old respectively Faith and I gathered the little tackers off to the side and gave them the emergency plan instructions in the advent of them becoming separated from us...Of course we weren't expecting to lose them, we'd never be so careless, but it pays to be prepared right?
They assured us they understood and, with a firm grip on my sisters hand, Taraz was far too old for that hand-holding business, we went off to enjoy our day.
A little perspective, this fair gets over 500,000 people through the gates each year; It runs for a week and each day some 70,000 people attend.
It's full of the usual things, side shows, food stalls, produce markets and has a distinct agricultural flavour so there's animal shows, competitions, wood chopping events and just about everything else you could imagine. There's a lot to do and see and we planned to stay until 9pm when they had a massive fireworks display. It was late morning.
Off we went for a day of fun
This was the first time I was trusted to bring my sister and brother and so far it was going really well. They were well-behaved and it was enjoyable to see them just being kids and having fun. Indeed, we were all having a blast...
...Until we lost Taraz.
One minute he was there and then next...Well...Not.
We went through the initial panic-phase quickly searching the immediate area figuring he'd simply stopped to look at something and was nearby. Nope. Zero Taraz's could be found.
We cast our net a little wider splitting up, me and my sister and Faith alone with plans to meet back in the same spot in a few minutes. Nope. Still missing.
I was pretty worried. I mean, I was attached to the little knucklehead by this point in time as I'd known him for 9 years...I wanted to trade him in for a less vexing version at times but had always decided against it because he was a funny kid, easy-going, quick to laugh and my closet brother. He was pretty good value.
I was starting to have thoughts about him being abducted, and whilst this story has a light-hearted tone to it now, at the time I was incredibly worried. Remember, I was only 19...A mature and capable 19 years old, but still little more than a kid myself.
Fighting off panic, my wife and I took a breath to think...It was then we came up with the same thought: Ferris wheel!
Emergency plans pay off
Part of my emergency instruction speech when we first came in the gates was about places to go if we were separated. We had indicated several with the ferris wheel being one of them as it was so prominent from almost every point on the show grounds as it was so tall.
By this time it had been about 35-40 minutes since we had realised he was gone and we were pretty desperate to find him. (This was before the days of mobile phones before you think why did you not text him G-dog.)
Make for the ferris wheel
We hurried, as fast as my sisters little legs could carry her, over to the ferris wheel and began to scout around for my brother. Nope...No little knucklehead! Ok, this is serious now, mum's going to kill me, I thought.
We were about to head over to the temporary police station to report him missing when my wife, (girlfriend at the time), Faith suggested we ask the guy operating the ferris wheel. Good plan Faithy me-girl!
I asked the guy if he'd seen him and described what he looked like and was wearing...A bit of a long-shot considering how many people he must have seen each day but to our surprise he said he had indeed seen the little guy! Naturally I was very relieved and ask where he was...The guy just pointed up with a smile.
We stepped back to get a better angle and spotted him, in his own ferris wheel carriage, hanging on with both hands happy as one could be. He looked down right then and spotted us, grinned that cheeky grin, the one he still uses to this day, and waved. That little shit. I'm killing him for sure! I thought.
It turned out that he had simply wandered away to look at something and lost sight of us. He had a habit of seeing something, getting curious and just heading for it...Bloody nutbag! We thought we had a handle on it, but he out-foxed us. I told you he was vexing.
Not one to waste an opportunity he took the time to free-style at the fair by himself for a bit and (fortunately) decided to head to the ferris wheel like I'd told him to once he realised he'd lost us. He told the ferris wheel guy that he had gotten lost and was waiting for us and scored a free ride!
I'll be honest, I wouldn't have been surprised to see him up there with some pretty little 11 year old chicky-babe...He was that sort of dude, even back then. Vexing!
we got him off the ferris wheel, thanked the ferris-wheel-guy and went on our way...But we kept a very close eye on him from then.
I decided to own up to my mum about losing my brother...I figured Taraz would probably let it slip anyway. She was not amused, but it ended ok I guess...It's now just a funny memory.
The Adelaide Show holds fond memories for us as it is where Faith and I met, only two years prior to losing my brother, introduced by a mutual friend back in 1987 - We've been together ever since. I have memories of going there with my parents too...But the memory we talk about the most is the day I lost the T-dog!
Design and create your ideal life, don't live it by default - Tomorrow isn't promised.