This week I had the day off, and my wife and I had planned lunch together at a new restaurant, which was where she dropped a bombshell! I had completely forgotten about the school fair, and had avoided this for many years, but thanks to my bad timing I had the day off to join the school fair. As we arrived to pick up the kids I knew this was going bad when they announced ‘”Hope you brought lots of cash!” As the doors opened it was as if the world yelled “Quick, free cash everyone!” My kids dived in whilst I squeezed in the doors, turning sideways, to slip my once slim, now restaurant full, body in. All any child could talk about was the ‘jingle jars’ which I knew nothing about, so being curious I asked my wife what a ‘jingle jar’ was, and it turned out it’s an old jam jar filled with sweets and the toys you see in party bags, which fill the bin by the evening, but boy were they the talk of the town!
As we went into the first class room I could not help but see a room full of toys for 50p and think why not just offer the parents a donation of £15 pounds and they would be shown an exit without rooms full of toys, and we ended up straight out in the car park. Instead my kids picked up random toys and lit up like arcade machines. I endured a few minutes, and realised quickly this was more trips to the local dump, so I offered to sit in the corridor to give parents more space. My wife was not buying it and shouted “Chicken.” I sat like a gnome for what felt like days when both of my kids came out with giant toys that would be lining the bin bags in a few days, and I was not wrong. Once child saw my little girl with her new toy and said “Oh I donated that” My little girl then asked “Does it work?” Why would you ask that fateful question? “Oh no,” came the reply, “It was busted when I donated it!” Spiffing! So not only were we carrying bin bag lining toys that would see the dump soon, now other kids were speeding up the process. Now my little girl was looking up at me with puppy dog eyes and claiming “Daddy would fix it with some new batteries!” Sorry Junkyard Jessica. the only thing that would fix this toy would be a few litres of petrol and a giant match. I nodded pitifully and my wife announced we could move onto the next section. Oh goodie, does anyone mind if I quickly eBay a second hand trailer to carry the stuff straight from here to the dump, or shall we drop it off at home for a few hours first, you know, to make it look like value for money?
As you can tell I was a little scared, so the thought of the next section was scaring me, but we were heading to the ‘jingle jar’ hall, where we entered to find the tables empty. What!? Come on people every child was talking about this like free cash was being given out, and you did not produce enough? My son burst into tears and because he was crying, I was now on the edge! My son was crying as there were no jingle jars left, me, I was crying about the junk, sorry useful bits we were lining the house with. I patted my son on the back, and gave my wife the car keys and said leave it to me, I will meet you at home after going into town. My wife said it could not be done, but ever the optimist I announced all I need is a clapped out jam jar like the ones you see at a doctors with a specimen in, and a few sweets and toys that were ready for the bin by sundown. Piece of cake, I trotted into town like a cowboy riding into the sunset.
As I arrived at the shop for the jars, the lady informed me that they are £2.50. Whoa there flower, are you racking up the prices because you know there is a jingle jar shortage or is everyone today being shafted? I had no choice but to line Dick Turpin’s hand with gold and moved onto the supermarket. I filled my basket with enough sweets to ensure my kids dentist would be in work for years, and moved onto the toys. I then realised my very large problem, they only had toys that could not fit into the jar. I did look into squeezing a few, and maybe if I took the dinosaurs head off it could fit, but then that would raise questions from other parents as to why my kids had animals with no heads, so I filled the baskets with even more sweets.
I trotted home ready to become the hero, and as I arrived it was pitch black with my car missing. I rang my wife and chatted to the voice-mail, and left it at that. For the next hour I sat on the ground on my driveway tired, and in pitch black freezing cold chatting to my wife’s voice-mail leaving pleasant comments like I had a dead bum, and even the neighbours were taking pity on me sitting on the ground. Finally after an hour of biting cold, and losing feeling in my bum and lips my wife arrived and my kids had their faces painted, and in the biting cold I announced I had the ‘jingle jars’ which they had forgotten all about! I handed them over and sat in the bath full of hot water at near nuclear temperature and when feeling in my legs came back I got out. My kids had almost finished the jingle jar and our dentist would be seeing them very soon, but I had happy kids, and my wife brought me a hot coffee.
Apparently next year I am busy, very busy, and am never ever taking a Friday off in December. Me, I picked the empty jars up off the ground and took the kids to bed, who were fairly wired, because some giant Dorset Dad oaf bought large jars and filled them to the brim with sweets. Honestly some people! I think we will keep that our secret just you and me. Night, night.