Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A brief moment of nostalgia . . .

As a kid in the Ozarks, I always looked forward to our town's annual carnival.

This wasn't the time of parades and street-dancing before Lent but the autumn week that the funfair 'Carnies' came to town. They arrived in that indefinite period between the end of the Little League baseball season, when the ballgrounds were emptied of players and could be filled with rides, and before the weather grew too cool in the evenings.

Sometimes, these carnivals occurred in conjunction with the harvest festival and fair, when farmers would display their finest, fattest livestock and women their best fruit preserves.

Well, I could look at a pig any day of the week that I cared to, and a jam sandwich could be had for free at home, so I'd avoid those sights and tastes and head straight for the rides.

Since our family was poor, I had to choose rides with care. Naturally, I selected the very rides that I would most avoid today -- the Stratospheric Ferris Wheel of Decompression, the Whirling Octopus of Oblivion, the Careening Coaster of Collision.

Okay, I made those names up, and the rides probably only seemed big to a small boy, but they were fun.

But what most sticks in my mind now were the songs that played. At these carnivals, I first heard such classics as Johnny Rivers' Secret Agent Man (1966) and the Hollies' Long Cool Woman (1972), the kind of songs that promised anonymous danger and mystery.

Precisely what I wanted from the carnival.

4 Comments:

At 8:44 AM, Blogger Alistair! said...

we used to have the funfair come round for two weeks in the summer and set down temporary roots in the public park just down the road from my house. 2 weeks of stuffing yourself with hot-dogs, hamburgers, toffee apples and candy floss. Then go on the rides!
Then the few days when the fair had packed up and left searching for coins that had been dropped into the grass and mud. Added fun.

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Two weeks! Ah, you were lucky! We used to dream about "two weeks." Why, when I was young . . .

 
At 11:26 AM, Blogger Ozark JazzFly said...

Ah, the Fulton County Fair days. I can still smell the cotton candy, the corn dogs and the rancid sweat of the "carnies". When we were little it seemed so big. In my teenage years it seemed to shrink as so many things did. Do you also remember the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines fair in Mammoth Springs?

 
At 3:53 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yeah, I remember that, but I'd forgotten what it was called. It was always the big one, wasn't it? -- appropriate for a town called Mammoth Springs!

Everything seems to shrink as I get older -- except for my waistline.

Actually, I'm keeping trim, but it's a struggle.

 

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