Summer’s Here, And The Time Is Right

I’ve been feeling very nostalgic lately.  I don’t know if it’s because my wife and I are expecting twins any day now, or the fact that I am on the cusp of a milestone birthday.  Or maybe it’s just the summer.  Summer always seems to have a way to reach into the past and pull the kid out of me.  I mean, why is it even as an adult I find myself looking forward to summer?  I thought it must have something to do with the sun, but most of my favorite memories are of the summer nights.  (I hope I didn’t just sound like Richard Marx there.)

What I’ve been remembering most is the carnival that used to come to life in the parking lot of my elementary school.  I don’t know how they did it, but that parking lot seemed exponentially bigger when the carnival was there than it did when it served as our school yard.  The first thing I’d notice were the lights, the glorious lights.  Then came the smells; popcorn, cotton candy and just the right amount of vomit somehow combined to create the greatest smell I’d ever smelled, the kind of smell that stayed in your nose long after you fell asleep.

There were quite a few games that I’m sure you wouldn’t see at a carnival these days.  It was the seventies after all.  They sold instant BINGO tickets (what’s with the catholics and Bingo?), which were an awful lot like the instant scratch off lottery tickets today, but they had little perforated doors that you peeled back to reveal if you won cash prizes, and they certainly had no problem selling them to a third grader.  My favorite one, the one my parents had to constantly steer me away from was the goldfish toss.  There was a giant pyramid of small fish bowls, each containing a single goldfish  (I don’t think PETA was around back then).  If you are able to toss a ping pong ball into any of the bowls, you won its inhabitant, and one of your parents got to hold it in a plastic bag while you rode the rides and tried to win yet another melted twisted bottle full of some strange magical blue liquid.  And if you were lucky enough, they would bring you back again the next night.

I’ve heard the carnival still comes there, but I’ve been afraid to go.  It can’t possibly bring that small asphalt parking lot to life the way it once did.  Can it?

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