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!
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?)
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.
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?
Here’s a snapshot of The Littles, getting their $99.3 million bracelets, for the “Unlimited Ride Package.”
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!”
It was very reminiscent of some other folks we know, named Wayne and Garth.
The 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.
… they finally got to ride!
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.”
This is how Hubs watched some of the rides that the kids went on:
If 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.
“Thing 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!”
“Hey, 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.”
“You 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!”
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.
“Mount up, men! Tonight, WE RIDE!!!”
We 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.
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.