14 September 2007

the Carny

The wife was out of town last weekend, so I braved it and took the kids to a small town festival, about an hour away, our family had never had the pleasure of visiting before. This is always an adventure. Now, I don't want to seem to be picking on this little town, but, boy, talk about a small town festival! There were four or five food booths set up on main street and about the same number of craft booths. I will admit, I was impressed with the enormous turn-out for the mud volley ball tournament and the tractor pull. Tractor pulls are done right, here in the Hoosier state.

But, it was the carnival rides that the kids wanted to experience. Their eyes both immediately landed on this streamlined mini train.......which, I could imagine my dad riding in the 1940's. No, I'm being quite serious. So I paid the outrageous sum for the two kids to climb into the engine and second car and the carny (fella who stopped and started the train) sounded the whistle, which appeared to be a siren scavenged from another ride, and off they went. They had the train all to themselves.

While I was waiting for the kids to finish their adventure, the carny struck up a conversation with me about where the rides were going next in Indiana, then their circuit through the Michigan festivals and how they should be done by the end of October. Then he gave me the low-down on what had happened at the festival the night before and how he and two of his buddies "went lookin' for a troublesome young buck" who threatened a girl with a knife. Having nothing more to say to him, than "hmmm, wow." he continued to tell his great tale of finding the kid in the alley and threatened to drag his sorry butt (I cleaned this up) to the sheriff and they'd give him "a good beatin'". Hmmm....wow. I said again.

Meanwhile, I had noticed the kids' adventure seemed to be declining, the magic had now gone from their eyes-I mean, it had been about 10 minutes at this point going in circles. The carny noticed this too, so he thought to reignite the joy by sounding the siren again. He turned to me and continued his fantastic tale from the dark alleys of this town of about 600 Hoosiers.

Soon I began to feel a little sorry for the troublesome buck. I'm not so sure that I'd want to have a run-in with three carnys in a dark alley-although I saw no sign of the bearded woman or yak girl in and among the carnival grounds. I did notice that my little girl had her arms stretched out wanting out of the little train. My son sat with his chin in his hands-at this point the carny rung the little bell on the front of the engine and said "whoo who!"

Finally, the carny's story ended. And so did the magic train ride........about 12 minutes, I'd guess. The next little girl got on, her ride lasted about 2 minutes. I wish the carny well...and I hope the young buck learned a lesson, never mess with a carny, or dare to engage in a conversation with him for that matter.

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