Fair is fair

Published 2:00 am Saturday, October 10, 2015

President Franklin D. Roosevelt said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

But, Mr. President had ever ridden the Ferris wheel.

The first time in my life that I got the liver and lights scared out of me was at the county fair.

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Back then, the fair set up in Brundidge right next to the school and right in the middle of our neighborhood.

At night, Mama would let me sit out in the yard and enjoy the fair from a safe distance. It was an amazing thing to see. As I sat there watching the blinking lights and listening to the screams of delight, I was filled with excitement and wonder.

On Friday night, Mama and Betty Kay’s mama, Miss Louise, took us to the fair. We were not to ride the swings because if the swings came loose we’d be slung to the moon. And, we were not to ride the Ferris wheel. The bolts might come out of the seat and we’d fall to our deaths.

We rode the Caterpillar, the Bullet, the bumper cars, the Tilt-A-Whirl and just for fun, the Merry-Go-Round. We ate hotdogs and cotton candy and tried to win a teddy bear throwing balls at bottles. We went through the Haunted House and screamed when a blast of air blew our dresses up over our heads. We saw the Fat Lady and the Fire Eater the man with a frog’s tongue.

When it came time for the man to be shot out of the cannon. Mama and Miss Louise let us go up closer to watch. The man had on a white suit with white shoes. He put on a little white cap and slid down in the cannon, feet first. Then, “Boom!” Out he shot. In a flash, he was in the catch net, jumping around and waving his hands so we would know he was alive and that was that.

We each held a dime in our sweaty little hands so we could ride one more ride. Then, we heard the man at the Ferris wheel calling us to ride. Our mamas were nowhere in sight. This was our chance – our one chance to ride the Ferris wheel. We might never get a chance like this again.

We got buckled in and my heart was pounding like a drum. Up and up we went.

I’d never been so high. I could see everywhere. I could see our house and I could almost touch the moon. I’d never see such sights.

We went around and around and then the Ferris wheel stopped with us right on top. The Ferris wheel didn’t move but our seat kept rocking back and forth and the bolts started to grind. We stopped breathing hoping the seat would stop rocking.

What if the seat came loose or flipped over and we splatted on the ground and our mamas saw us dead like that? What if the Ferris wheel stopped forever and we had to stay up there until we died? Either way it looked like were in for a good switching.

From way up there our mamas looked like little ants running around and around the Ferris wheel. We could hear them screaming for us to sit still. They didn’t even need to tell us that.

The Ferris wheel finally started moving again and we knew our fun night at the fair was over.

Mama’s favorite Bible verse was “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”

I was not a spoiled child.