So I was talking to my dad the other day and, for some strange reason, the subject of carnivals came up.
Actually, I do know the reason.
He had to take my niece to a local county fair to see a country music singer in the Ohio Valley. I guess girls are swooning over this guy. Not sure of the name, but I’m sure the music isn’t that great.
“Man,” I said to him. “I love carnivals.”
“Yeah, I know you do,” he said as he took a drag off his cigarette. “When you were little, you would cry if we passed a parking lot carnival and didn’t stop.”
“Really?” I truly don’t remember this ever happening.
“Yep,” he said. “You would cry all the way home, when you got out of the car, even when we put you in the bathtub. Sometimes, you would cry yourself to sleep after we put you to bed."
“Really?” I said again looking him straight in the eyes expecting him to smile and say ‘Just kidding’.
He didn’t blink. He was as serious as a heart attack.
“Man, I didn’t realize I was such a little pussy.”
“Oh, it wasn’t that big of a deal to us,” he said. “We just made sure we stayed away from carnivals whenever we went somewhere.”
“Really?” I said. I was completely dumbfounded. And yes, I realize, this is the third time I said Really in less than a page.
“Yep,” he said. “If we saw a carnival in the distance we would take a swift turn off the road and take an alternative way to wherever we were going.”
“Hmf,” I took a sip of beer thinking about all the kick-ass carnivals I missed when I was a kid. Thanks a lot mom and dad.
“So. why do you like carnivals so much,” my dad asked waking me up from my newfound embarrassment.
I thought about his question for a couple seconds.
“Well, I guess I like the lights, the smells, the rides and the games,” I said. “I guess I like the fact that I’m part of this little piece of Americana that literally makes a ton of people happy for one week out of the year.”
“Then, just like a hurricane, the carnival impacts the whole community, wraps up and leaves overnight with various carnival debris whipping around the parking lot. The only remnants of its brief existence.”
“Hmf,” he said as a wisp of cigarette “Interesting.”
A brief silence followed.
“You know what I like about carnivals?” my dad piped up.
I shook my head.
He took another drag of his cigarette and let out another puff of smoke.
“Elephant ears," he said.