Each week they have a fun activity planned for the kids.
A few weeks ago Rhianna was there and came home and said that she wanted to sign up for the Zucchini 500.
She needed to build a car out of a zucchini to race.
My kids have big imaginations and think of no limitations to reality.
I had no idea how to build a car (I'm not the most mechanically minded individual) let alone have the time to build it.
But, Rhianna had her heart set on it and I was going to give it my best shot.
Friday night rolls around. (I admit. I procrasitnated.) And we start building this thing around 10pm.
I had been told by someone who saw this race last year, that the wheels don't have to be vegetables. Just the body of the car must be a zucchini.
Rhianna told me that she knew there was no way she would win the fastest. (She knows me and my building skills all too well) so she was going to go for 'Most Healthiest'. And try to get the most variety of fruits and veggies as part of her car.
We had the design finished and I was working on finding something for wheels. I tore apart one of Reagan's cars, hoping to use the axel.
It wouldn't work.
Next, I tried unscrewing the wheels off his Tonka truck, thinking a monster truck zucchini car would be fun.
It wouldn't work.
At this point (11pm) I was almost in tears. I felt like a failure..imagining all the other kids probably spent hours on this with their dads and would make our car look pathetic. I knew I was, once again, going to let my child down. I figured her car would fall apart (if I could even find wheels to make it roll) or it would be tacky or whatever.
All I knew is that I dreaded the next day.
While I was sitting there beating myself up, a thought came to mind. (I still cannot think what made me think of it). I remembered that she had a plastic scooter for her dolls.
I ran in the bedroom and dug it out of the storage bin. I unscrewed the top part and set the zucchini on the base of the scooter.
It fit perfectly.
I tied the back part of the veggie with a multi-colored piece of yarn and the front was attached by a rubber band.
It was pushing midnight at this point and I was done for the day.
The next morning we pulled in to the market and I had that sick feeling of dread. I figured all the other cars would look wonderfully put together and here was ours, stuck to plastic wheels with yarn and decorated with all kinds of fruits and veggies. I was waiting for the moment when she would realize that hers looked worse than all the others simple because her mom just doesn't have time.
To my delight, as we walked closer, I noticed that all the cars looked pretty much the same. They were cars made out of a zucchini, after all.
The time for the race came closer and my little girlie was getting really nervous.
She paced until it was time for the race.
They had it set up where two cars would race...the winner going to the winners bracket and the loser going to the losers bracket.
Rhianna and Auntie Tricia
(Excuse the thumb)
We were SO excited Auntie T was here to watch Rhianna race.
Once they had the winner from the winners bracket, the winner from the losers bracket would come back to race the winner from the winners bracket and race it. If the winner from the loser bracket won; they would race one more time to beat the winner of the winners bracket to go on to win first place. (Are you confused yet?)
I hoped Rhianna's car would make it down in one piece, once.
All I wanted was for her to walk away feeling proud that she did her best, but not feeling like a failure.
She won. She smoked them.
I'm not sure what emotion was stronger...excitement or shock that we actually won one race.
As the races continued, I realized she actually had a shot at winning the entire shebang.
There was one other zucchini that looked slightly faster than hers...it was roped onto a firetruck and was speedy as it beat every other car.
The time came for Rhianna to race it. The first half of the track she was smoking it and then it happened...
her car veered to the right and slightly rubbed against the wooden track snapping her rubberband. The car careened out of control and rolled to the end.
She lost the race.
Oddly enough, I was devastated. I was sure she was going to win; and upset at my flawed design.
A man from the crowd came up to us and said "I have zip ties in my bag...here fix the car so she can race again."
My first thought was "Who carries zip ties to a farmer's market?" but shrugged it off and accepted the kind offer.
We fixed up her car and she was good to go.
She made it through the losers bracket to come back to be the winner of the losers bracket.
The time came for the first place race.
It was her versus Mr. Firetruck Zucchini.
The only car she had lost to.
There was a large crowd gathered around at this point. Quite a few people in the crowd were from church (many came over while shopping at the market because they heard Rhianna's name announced). It was so wonderful to see so many people supporting her...not because they wanted her to win necessarily, but because they love her and want good things for her.
She put her car up at the top of the race track next to Mr. Firetruck Zucchini.
The race master lifted the wooden bar and off they went.
AND SHE WON.
I was shaking uncontrollably.
But I had always failed my children in the past when it came to building things...and finally...for once their car was winning.
The kids grabbed their cars and ran to the top of the track.
The winner of this race would be the First Place Winner of the annual Zucchini 500.
The block went up and....
SHE ACTUALLY WON.
That shrill scream you heard at the end of the video?? That was her, so excited she won.
After the race, the second place winner came up to her and shook her hand.
I was hugging her, almost jumping up and down. She was excited she won.
I was excited I hadn't failed her (once again) because I couldn't build things.
I looked up and saw a photographer taking our picture. The idea of us being on the Ellington Gazette (or whatever it is called) with me hugging her jumping up and down horrified me. I wanted to tell them why I was so excited. haha.
(Note: The picture was not printed...at least to my knowledge it wasn't. Thank goodness.)
I saw the zip tie man still standing in the crowd and I wanted to thank him once again.
I went over to him and said: "You have no idea what you helping fix her car means to her. I'm a single mom...always failing when it comes to building things like this. Thank you for saving the day for her."
His response made me stutter...
"It was my son she beat out."
Uh. um. What do you say to that?
He continued on so graciously...he said "I'm glad she won. She deserved it. My son, he always wins, and needs to lose occasionally. "
It wasn't a big deal...it was only a Zucchini 500...but it was a heartwarming story to me. That there are still a lot of really good people out there.
She won a gift certificate to the market and a huge bag of kettle corn.
Now she has a reputation to uphold.
Next Saturday, the 27th, there is a Summer Harvest Drag Race.
And you can bet she is entering a pumpkin car!