I love merry-go-rounds. I rode one once when I was little. The bachelor uncles took my older sister and me to the Lesourdsville amusement park in Middletown, OH. I was four years old. It was Dr. Pepper night. Every time you drank a Dr. Pepper, you got a free ride. Like Caesar, sort of: I drank, I rode, I puked,
I don’t think I ever rode a merry-go-round again as a child. We did not live where such things were common, and we had no money for amusements.
But I love merry-go-rounds because of seeing children on them. I still remember the ecstatic looks on the faces of my girls when they were four and two as they rode what they called, respectively, “the merry old thing,” and “the roundy roundy.” It was just a kiddie ride, not a real merry-go-round, just temporary, in a mall parking lot, and they may not remember it at all, but it is one of my best memories.
I have similar memories from the grandchildren, at East Park and the 4-H fair in Mason City, IA. And as an adult the summer we took grandson Joe to a week-long camp at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI, as an 8th grade graduation present. We thought it was a residential camp, but it turned out to be days only, so we rented a room in a motel and took Joe to camp each morning, and then in the evenings the three of us went exploring all of southern MI, including East Lansing and Ann Arbor, so he could get a look at the universities there.
Day times, though, we had nothing to do, so we mostly hung around Greenfield Village, the old-time town that is part of the Ford Museum. We watched folks play old time baseball, and ride old time unicycles, and even heard Huck Finn telling of his adventures. Mostly, though, we hung around the merry go round, waiting for it to open, so we could watch. Helen was disappointed it did not have a pink pig to ride, because she rode one of those in the first childhood dream she can remember, but we had a good time anyway, sometimes riding, but mostly watching the little children, with their joyful faces, as they rode.
Helen says that old age is like a merry-go-round. Each time around is like a day. We and all our loved ones and friends are on the horses. On one day, some will be up and some down. The next time around, those who were up may well be down, and vice versa, or something like that. You get the idea.
She is onto something, as she usually is. It’s good to remember than when we’re “down,” it might not last forever. Get ready to wave at the people the next time you go around. Actually, that might not be a good idea. I get dizzy easily, so I’d better hang on with two hands. The best advice I can give myself as I ride this old age merry-go-round is: remember the faces of the children. And, enjoy the ride.
Oh, I think I’ll start using that as my sign-off line. My friend, Glenn, says “Make it a good day,” which is neat, but sounds like a lot of work. So…
Enjoy the ride!
John Robert McFarland
“Good pitching will always beat good hitting, and vice versa.” Baseball Maxim