Carnival 2016

Once a summer, the carnival comes to town.  It’s always THE HOTTEST four days of the year.  I can’t prove anything for a judge and jury, but I have my suspicions that the folks who transport all those rides on giant trucks, from one town to another, look at the weather forecast for Small Town, USA, and when they see that the temps are going to sail straight past one hundred degrees without stopping, they put us down in ink on their calendar.

“103 degrees predicted for THIS day?  Yes!  Schedule Small Town then!”

This year, though, must’ve been the seventh year, when the fields were to lie fallow and everyone was to be given rest, because the temperatures stayed in the mid-eighties while the carnival was in town.

The mid-eighties, people!!

We went on Wednesday night, when it was 81 degrees, WITH A BREEZE!

A breeze, y’all!

A breeze!!

The wonderful thing was that it was even a COOL breeze, that made us all stop and say, “Isn’t the carnival NICE this year?”  We never say that, because traveling carnivals, by definition, are dirty and hot and loud, and all the blinking lights sometimes make me feel like a seizure is coming on.  But this year, we put our hands together for a Praise Clap to the Lord, because we were at 81 WITH THAT COOL BREEZE.

It was a Jubilee year.

Hubs and I took our boys to the carnival, because it’s what parents DO.  It’s not what we WANT to do.  There comes a point in the life of an adult when she steps back and says, “JUST WATCHING carnivals gives me motion sickness, the smell of fried funnel cakes and fried Twinkies and fried globs of butter and fried Indian tacos makes me nauseated, the dirt is everywhere, the kids whine for this ride and that ride and EVERY RIDE, and the heat is the equivalent of living on the equator.  The equator… of the sun.”  But we end up taking the children anyway, because good parents make memories for their kids.

I’ve learned that kids NEVER remember the creepy guy operating the Tilt-A-Whirl, or the fact that they had to jump over a pile of vomit, or that it was 104 degrees of straight, burning heat.  The kids just remember THE THRILL OF THE RIDES.

It has become VERY CLEAR to me why my own parents always drug their feet back in the ’70s, when Sister and I begged to go.

(Yes.  I just said THE ’70s.  It was a time when OSHA didn’t even care that the creepy guy operating the Tilt-A-Whirl just used a bottle of warm water to wash away the vomit from the seats.  Clorox?  What’s that?)

(Different times.)

On Wednesday, we went.  We joined forces with Sister’s family, subtracted one of our kids and added another kid, and we laid on the carnival grenade.

IMG_0515Cousin L chose youth group over the carnival on Wednesday night, because she’s mature.  She knows the Lord will always be a better friend than a three-minute roller coaster ride.

We picked up our friend, Avery, because Avery is still convinced that CARNIVALS ARE FUN!  THEY ARE JUST SO MUCH FUN!  LOOK AT ALL THE FUN TO BE HAD AT THE CARNIVAL!!  Sadly, she’s going to grow up and sing another song, about WHY, CARNIVAL?  WHY ARE YOU SO AWFUL?

IMG_0525IMG_0526 IMG_0516 IMG_0519The carnival is also called THE EVENING OF HIGHWAY ROBBERY.

Here’s a snapshot of The Littles, getting their $99.3 million bracelets, for the “Unlimited Ride Package.”

IMG_0521The Unlimited Ride Package did not cover Unlimited Games.  No, ma’am.  Games were $5 a hit, on top of the lifetime savings you just dumped out on the bracelets.

Being the loving parents that we are, Hubs and I softly informed Thing 2, “There will be NO GAMES!  You have an expensive bracelet; you don’t get expensive games, too!  We have to pay the utility bill somehow this month!

IMG_0522They were pretty proud of their Unlimited Rides Bracelets, and flashed them at every entrance gate.

It was very reminiscent of some other folks we know, named Wayne and Garth.

giphyThe Littles did great, waiting patiently in line for their turns on each of the rides.  It may have something to do with the fact that I whispered, “If you can’t wait nicely for your turn, we’ll go home.

Ain’t no kid wanna risk having that card thrown down in front of him.

IMG_0523 IMG_0524 IMG_0527And then…

… they finally got to ride!

IMG_0529 IMG_0531 IMG_0532 IMG_0534 IMG_0535 IMG_0540 IMG_0528 IMG_0544 IMG_0547 IMG_0550 IMG_0553The spinning bears created a little hesitancy at first.

I’m sure it had absolutely nothing to do with Avery telling Thing 2 and Cousin H, “Back in 1983, when it was 105 degrees outside, the bright yellow spinning bear started up, and a little boy MELTED inside.  He melted… and he was never seen again.

IMG_0554 IMG_0556Sister and I yelled from the sidelines, “But it’s only 81 tonight, and there’s a breeze!  Y’all have GOT THIS!

This is how Hubs watched some of the rides that the kids went on:

IMG_0561If my memory serves me correctly, it’s exactly how my dad looked in 1979, when he leaned against the fence around the bumper cars, thinking that he’d just spent a week’s worth of grocery money on rides.  I even remember my dad telling Sister and me one year that carnivals were not that cool.

I thought he was speaking blasphemy, because FORGET Barnum and Bailey’s circus; the carnival was the greatest show on earth!!

The boy hung out with Hubs.

You’d never know they were related.

IMG_0560Sister and I kept telling them to reign in their excitement.

IMG_0569 IMG_0568 IMG_0584 IMG_0573 IMG_0578Cousin H once said, “Thing 2, is the speed limit REALLY 95 on this road?  I’m glad I didn’t waste time using the hot rollers this morning, since we have the top down.”

IMG_0579Thing 2 once said, “My dad always says, DRIVE IT LIKE YOU STOLE IT, and that’s what I intend to do!

IMG_0576Thing 2, I TOLD YOU that we should’ve turned left at the Sinclair!  I told you!  I told you twenty-four times!  But no!  You kept assuring me we needed to keep going straight… at 95 miles an hour… and here we are… LOST.  And my hair’s a mess from blowing in the wind, Thing 2!

IMG_0577

IMG_0587 IMG_0589 IMG_0590Hey, K?  What did you put down for the seventh question on our Algebra 2 test this morning?  You know, the one that said, ‘A circuit has a current of (8 + 7i) amps, and another circuit has a current of (5 − 3i) amps. What is the difference between the currents of the two circuits?’  I thought that one was kind of hard.”

I said it was (3 + 10i) amps, Avery.

IMG_0586You did?  You said it was (3 + 10i) amps?  Oh, my goodness!  I think I wrote down that it was (3 – 10i) amps.  Oh, I can’t even remember!  I think I said MINUS, K!!  Which one did I write down??!!  I can’t remember!”

IMG_0591Well, whatever the answer was, I’m not going to worry about it.  I’m just going to practice my parade wave for the pageant.

IMG_0596 IMG_0590 IMG_0601In the middle of all the carnival ride snapshots, I had to pop one of our friend, Jen.

Jen was rocking the messy bun like she was the queen of ALL the beauty pageants.  Sister and I had to ask for a verbal tutorial, because we stood in awe of Jen’s Hair Perfection.  Even after she explained it with hand motions — “Just make two ponytails and whip this part here and this part there, and wrap, and shove a bobby pin here, and I use two bobby pins here, and then… well… it’s a giant mess, so you just spray the snot out of it and scrunch it a bit, and then add some more bobby pins… and you’re done.  It only takes 20 seconds to do this style!” — I’m still stumped.  The Lord gives spiritual gifts of all kinds, and mine is NOT the ability to do great hair.

IMG_0603We ran into lots of friends at the carnival, so naturally we stopped to hug some of them.

IMG_0607The dragon roller coaster was The Littles’ favorite ride, so we kept getting back in line for that one, over and over and over again…

IMG_0611 IMG_0608 IMG_0609 IMG_0612 IMG_0613 IMG_0622 IMG_0621They also loved the giant slide with the obstacle course.

IMG_0623 IMG_0629 IMG_0632 IMG_0634 IMG_0633 IMG_0637 IMG_0642 IMG_0643 IMG_0647 IMG_0649 IMG_0644The kids also slid down the other giant slide.

IMG_0655 IMG_0660 IMG_0662They rode the Tilt-A-Whirl…

IMG_0664 IMG_0663… and the carousel.

Mount up, men!  Tonight, WE RIDE!!!

IMG_0674 IMG_0681The kiddos also got to see a fellow jump out of an airplane and parachute into the nearby rodeo arena.

IMG_0667 IMG_0671We ran into Cousin R and Cousin M at the carnival, too.  They were there WITHOUT ADULTS, because they’re both thirteen and not four.  They had Unlimited Rides Bracelets, and they were prepared to use them until the midnight hour.  It’s because of that WITHOUT PARENTS part.  Thirteen year olds have the stamina and the stomach to last all night at the carnival.  They totally trump adults in that department.

Cousin R sent snapshots to my phone throughout the night, while they rode THE BIG KID rides that Thing 2 was (Thankfully!!) too short for.

IMG_7110 IMG_7112 IMG_7116I even got a video, showing how much Cousin M loved one of the rides.

What you need to know about this video is that Cousin R has never met Motion Sickness a single time in her life.  She laughs in the faces of all the rides that flip her upside down and spin her at break-your-neck-plum-in-half speeds.  You should also know that I LOVE how Cousin M’s hair flops all over the place, because I think his long hair is the cutest style of EVER.

And then you should know that if I had been on this ride, I would never have been as brave as M was; I never would have survived the ride as gracefully as he did.  I would’ve puked all over both of them, and then I would’ve needed the emergency room as soon as the ride was over for something commonly referred to as ANTI-NAUSEA MEDICATION, IN INJECTION AND IV FORMAT.

After we had spent two solid hours at the carnival with the little kids, Hubs and Sister and I called it a night.  We took everyone home, because the mamas each needed a glass of Recovery Wine, and Thing 2 had managed to get axle grease all over him somehow.  He had to be showered and disinfected.

And yes.  He left an enormous river of mud in the shower, he was so dirty.

And THAT, y’all, is how Carnival 2016 shook down.  We survived it.

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