A child, a tiny thing in blond banana curls and cut-off genes walks with her dad, or rather dad walks with his vivacious daughter. He is still wearing his fatigues and is a bit weary but a promise is never forgotten when your daughter asks… The carnival was one of those rent a rides put up by the local church to gather money for things like the leaky roof on a steeple that had seen better days and for food that would feed the many in a parish that was just as poor as it’s parishioners. The brightest, loudest, fun thing in the parking lot was the carousel. Parked among the hawkers of fish bowls and stuff animals it twirled and howled a calliope of show tunes only those from the past would remember, but everyone still enjoyed the lively sounds. A tug or two on a pants leg sent father and child into the thick crowd of the curious. The event had invited many in this small town to do something different, or do something at all. It was just another reason to gather and chat with neighbors and relatives, people everyone new. The carnie people raised their patrons to new heights of social significance. They gave everyone an opportunity to be better than they were, until it came time to ante up for a chance toss at games that made all but the very lucky, losers.
Dad had enough time and energy to just sit and speculate at what he remembered from his childhood as a wonder. The intelligent adult he prided himself at being wasn’t impressed, but the glow on his little girls face was worth the farce. After all it was her first encounter with another world and people who had nothing better to do than giggle and gaggle. The line to the carousel was long because the spinning monument to 19th century ingenuity was indeed a wonder to behold. It had been reconstructed from parts of a handful of it’s kind. The man responsible for this reconstruction was a retired engineer who had run out of things to fix around the house. His ambition to make something that was fun for all took him almost twenty years. It cost him no more than his time because money was not an object to the visionary who had pushed his generation far into the computer age. He yearned for the simple and relished working with gears and levers rather than micro chips and lines of code. All the while, parts found or made begin to fit together or point to another problem that research and patience would remedy. The entrance of grandchildren, or the loss of siblings did not slow his project. The revolving stage with grotesque creatures that moved up and down and round and round to the sounds of by gone days was mesmerizing, being a perfectionist new life was being born. This was no longer a machine; this was the past made present, and presentable. A monument to dreams and good will that would never die.
Some who looked at this ride felt it had not survived the journey to the present. There was good reason to feel this way. But then it wasn’t suppose to jangle the senses of video game players. A machine that travels from the past to the present could very well continue on it’s way without permission, assuming a little imagination came with the price of admission. That was its allure. Everyone knew what it was, but no one understood why it made them feel so good.
Bright lights flashed and the crowd became eager with the whirling that gave so many others delicious delights. The lights, that was it or was it the music, something vaguely familiar without being anticipated. An unusual melody that twisted and turned with the swaying animals that galloped in place and in tune. Little Jessica held her father’s hand tight as they moved ever so slowly toward the ticket taker as his barking droned on.
Come one, come all and ride the ride of the ages. March and prance, dive and dance with animal of your choice, hurray hurray, hurray. Since this was the most lively and spectacular event of the evening the small town was consumed and more people gathered in drovers for their go round. It was almost as much fun watching those lucky enough to be on the ride than being a rider. People’s faces glistened with joy and clenched tight the rains of lions, giraffes, hippos and bear. No two creatures were alike. Even anxious bystanders seemed to move with a rhythm of anticipation that matched those on the wooden stage that went round and round.
The tall tired man in fatigues and his little blond headed Jessica where becoming impatient with the waiting procession that did not march as gaily as those who were now reluctantly leaving the wooden heard. Another look into the eyes of those who braved the unknown, who had just fancied a few minutes of mindless fancy kept them hanging on for their turn. The barker closed the gate after the lucky few who mounted and waited for the whirring, the thrilling rhythm, that wondrous calliope of cymbal smashing, organ grinding, flute twirling music that poured from everywhere as the circle of lights flashed in their eyes. What a ride!
Then something terrific took place. Something unexpected happened right before their very eyes. The carousel became a blur of movement. Nothing really fast, just a difficult sight to behold. It was hard to describe and more difficult to imagine. Just exactly what was happening? No one was scared; the shrieks coming from the riders were not distressed. The warm glow disguised as a blur was soft pulsating light from the round wooden stage…