Growing up, September meant the Apache County Fair and with the Fair came the Carnival. A place filled with sketchy rides and even sketchier people. People we unwisely trusted to toss us about until we tossed our cotton candy.
Last month I was able to return after an absence of four years. The Fair was just as memorable as always and quickly turned into a contest of who could consume the most rubbish. I was a strong contender.
After we had eaten all the ice cream, funnel cake, caramel apples, nachos, and Mexican food we could handle we gathered to the carnival. Since I felt myself an old pro when it came to the carni scene, I volunteered to go on the rides with the nieces and nephews.
The first was the Sizzler. A ride that in a spinning furry launches you in the crowd and snatches you back in. It was a personal favorite of 12-year-old Lora.
23-year- old Lora, not so much. I feel like giving birth would do less damage on a body. My taller physic made me highly susceptible to whip lash and it was a real treat acting as the cushion for other passengers to slam up against in an extreme version of “corners.”
It’s cool though. I broke a rib, but what’s that to a good ol time?
When the ride finally stopped, my niece Audrey called out to a local girl to help us out of the contraption we were currently trapped in. She replied “um, not I’m not staying here any longer,” and left. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to call someone, let alone a 13-year-old girl, an offensive word more than that moment.
Afterwards the family gathered to go on the Ferris Wheel AKA the bane of my existence. Nicholas, my oldest nephew, was equally not thrilled with this prospect.
I pulled him aside and told it to him straight, “Nicholas you can either go with me or that psychopath” I said pointing to his little sister Audrey, the known cage rattler.
I could tell he was really weighing his objects so I gave the kid a moment. “Ok” he whispered.
As we slide in our little cage Nicholas started chanting “we’re going to fall we’re going to fall.” I laughed and took this photo. When we reached the top I silently joined in on the chanting.
I kept trying to come up with comforting things to say, but all I could think about was the screw squeaking on my left and the likelihood it wouldn’t hold up for the remaining 8 minutes.
Finally I put on a brave face and leaned the cage forward, “Let’s look for grandma.”
“NO!” Nicholas shouted pulling me back in. And he went back to chanting “it’s getting faster, it’s getting faster”
At that point I diagnosed us as lost causes and just sat back praying the screw would hold.
To Nicholas’ surprise, we survived. With our feet safely on the ground, we found a bench to catch our breath. Within minutes, Audrey came running up asking if we wanted to go on the Tilt-a-Whirl. We glanced at each other and gave her a firm “no”. As she skipped away Nicholas relaxed and kicked out his feet.
“I’m the smartest kid here,” he said with a solemn look on his face.
“Oh, why’s that.”
“All these kids are just going to get sick and dizzy. Not me. Nope, I’m the smartest kid here.”
I took a good look around at the nauseous spinning lights and felt my bruised side, “Yes you are Nicholas.”
We spent the rest of the night on that bench watching the kids stumble from one ride to the next and every once in a while Nicholas would mutter “I’m the smartest kid here.”
Pre-carni terror footage below:
Nicholas won the 4H Service Award and made a pretty penny on his Pig Twinkie.
Don't be deceived by the smiles, Kyle wanted off that death trap.
I really do have the cutest nephews.