After spending time this weekend at a local festival and seeing all of the families enjoying the sights and sounds, it made me think about trips to the carnival when I was a kid. There was an annual carnival at the high school that took place either in the spring or fall, I can’t quite remember. But it was the old-school style of fair, with those rickety rides that required the purchase of a certain amount of what looked like raffle tickets. I didn’t like any of the more adventurous rides, and definitely nothing that would send me upside down. Nope, I was happiest on the good old merry-go-round or the bumper cars. When I was very small, my Dad would somehow get his long legs squished into one of the cars and help me “drive” around while I giggled as we bumped into other cars. I remember riding the carousel with Mom, holding on to the “reins” while waving to Dad, who stood nearby, cigarette dangling from his mouth.
The one ride we all would get on was the ferris wheel. This was my mom’s favorite ride. Dad and I were less enthused, given our fear of heights. But this was a slow and steady contraption, and we never got stuck at the top as you hear people do from time to time. We would usually ride the ferris wheel at night, when the colorful lights from all of the rides would light up the sky, making our normally sleepy suburb seem electrifying and exciting.
The games were probably more fun for me than the rides. My favorite game was probably the most simple one. I don’t remember what it was called, or if if even had a name. It was just this large space with a table in the center full of cheap dishes and glassware. If you landed your coin in a bowl/glass/plate, it was yours. It was a bit like Tiddlywinks, I guess. I won Dad many an ashtray playing that game!