Wednesday, August 18, 2010

High Suspense ...


It's that time of year again that county and state fairs along with various carnivals of all sorts can be seen all across the country ... which reminded Lamar Beefeater of an experience he and his lifelong pal Luther DooLittle had at one such carnival many years ago when they were both just young lads ... seems the odd couple had earned a few extra dollars doing odd chores for Uncle Virgil Hunnicutt and Grandpa DooLittle that summer, and those dollars had been burning holes in their britches ever since ... so what better way to spend ready cash than at a carnival?

So here's the story as recounted by Lamar Beefeater ... the boys had eagerly climbed out of their beds early that morning and headed out toward the carnival which had just set up at the town square, just as waking roosters began sounding their familiar alarms at the rapidly rising sun ... their plan being to spend the entire day getting rid of every cent they had by ravenously consuming every snow cone, big drink, hot dog, corn dog, candy apple, cotton candy, pop corn, buffalo wing, peanut, ice cream cone, elephant ear, honey bun and bloomin' onion they could get their hands on ... whatever time they had left had been designated for playing games and winning prizes on the midway, and then riding the less than lethal kiddie rides such as bumper cars, the merry-go-round and maybe even a turn on the frighteningly high, double Ferris wheel ... so Luther and Lamar straightaway commenced to partake of the festivities at hand!

To make what could potentially be a drawn-out story somewhat less monotonous, the enthusiastic pair's plan had been carried out just as originally designed ... they had unashamedly devoured every beverage and food item from their list, some more than once ... they had participated in every game found on the midway resulting in Lamar winning a rabbit's foot and Luther a yellow, rubber, bathtub duckie ... and they had ridden every kiddie ride except for that double Ferris wheel ... seems Luther had abruptly developed some trepidations as to this contraption's extreme height after giving it a bit of closeup, visual scrutiny, and had arrived at the wholesome conclusion that the only way he would climb on that thing was if he was tightly blindfolded ... so Lamar blindfolded Luther with his handkerchief and they got in line to board the towering ride ... now Lamar's intentions were to sit in the same seat with Luther so he could keep an eye peeled on him during the ride ... unfortunately just as Lamar climbed into the basket a small boy pushed his way ahead of Luther and jumped right in beside of Lamar just as the attendant secured the restraining bar ... before Lamar had time to produce any protestations the impatient attendant had advanced the baskets so as to load the other remaining wheel with anxious passengers thus sending Lamar and his new friend ahead to the highest apex ... now having nobody to assist, Luther just stood there as everybody quickly boarded that last wheel ahead of him ... finally there was but one empty basket remaining ... "ain't you gonna ride or not young feller? ... and why you got that bandanner coverin' yer eyes? ... how you gonna enjoy this here ride like that?" asked the nonindulgent attendant as he firmly grasped Luther by the back of his neck while forcefully thrusting the confused boy into the last seat all by himself ... "cause I'm scared half to death, that's why!" countered Luther ... "so why you gonna ride it then?" added the now slightly amused attendant ... "cause I don't want no folks thinkin' I'm a danged chicken, that's why!" retorted Luther ... "well then hang on boy!" exclaimed the now extremely bemused attendant as he slammed the bar down on Luther's basket with a loud clank and revved that rusty, old wheel up to full speed!

Luther could hear the other riders laughing and screaming as the mammoth machine made its grand revolutions round and round, higher then lower ... he couldn't see anything, but could sense the various changes in altitude as the giant Ferris wheel spun through the muggy, summer air ... after some time, Luther got so accustomed to the wheel's steady movement that he could hardly tell whether or not he was riding high or low ... and it really didn't matter either, the warm summer breeze felt good on his young face as he imagined what it must be like to be a bird flying effortlessly across the azure sky ... all of a sudden, Luther thought he could feel the huge wheel grind to a screeching halt as the dutiful attendant's voice cracked like a bolt of lightning which immediately retrieved Luther from his state of blissful wonderment back to stark reality ... "Okay folks, ride's over ... please be patient until everybody safely embarks" cried the attendant ... now Luther didn't know much of anything about embarking, all he did know was that the ride had stopped and he wanted out of that hard, metal bucket ... so he flung open the safety bar and stepped right on out ... only trouble was, the basket that he had been riding in had stopped at the very topmost point of the ride, and Luther was unaware of that fact because he was still wearing that blindfold ... but by the grace of God ... Luther's suspenders got snagged on a protruding bracket as terrified onlookers watched in horror ... Luther sailed up and down like a yoyo on a string as the elastic in those suspenders stretched a bit more with each descent thus inching the dangling bruiser closer and closer to the ground each time ... strangely enough ol' Luther wasn't making a sound, no screams or anything ... upon seeing Luther soaring up and down from the top of that Ferris wheel, some late arrivals thought the carnival was offering bungee jumping and began forming a line to join in ... eventually the elastic in Luther's suspenders stretched so far out of shape that finally his feet gently touched the ground as Lamar and the now totally befuddled attendant grabbed hold and cut him loose amidst the crowd's roaring applause ... Luther immediately jerked the thick handkerchief from his eyes then sheepishly proclaimed "that sure was some fun ... but I'll tell you fellers one thing ... the next time I go to the carnival, I'm gonna enjoy the rides first, then eat ... cause as soon as I stepped out of that bucket it seemed like I was flyin' weightlessly up and down through the air like a yoyo for the longest time ... and I know that just ain't possible ... must have blacked out fer a couple of seconds ... I reckon it could have been that danged bloomin' onion!" ... Lamar Beefeater has yet to this day told Luther DooLittle any different ... and just as well I suppose ... Luther likely wouldn't believe him no how!


--sja
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16 comments:

BOB said...

Our Carnivals and Fairs were held at Atlanta's Lakewood Park with its many rides ... and where too, I met Al St. John ... "Fuzzy" to us kids.

The huge Midway always played a central part in the experience ... some of which is forgotten, some well remembered but never to be told!

In addition to the giant Ferris Wheels, it had many Centrifugal force based rides that offered thrills and scares for a dime.

Most infamous was its Roller Coaster ... Mama and Daddy wouldn't let me ride it ... but I did twice so manage over the years.

Always heed what your folks tell you ... another hard lesson learned!

sja said...

Bob, nobody has to tell me to stay off the roller coasters!

BOB said...

heehee ... buzz me!

Ladygoodwood said...

I can remember as a little girl watching the movie State Fair - and feeling envious of your American carnival and fair season as we have nothing like it in the UK.
Funny post - you allow me to create great visuals in my head to go along with the words.
Smiles.

Ellen said...

Your writing talents are so amazing - I felt as though I was actually there.

I love reading your stories and visiting your blog!

Thanks for sharing,
xoxoxo,
Ellen

sja said...

Ladygoodwood, even a bad day at a fair or carnival is better than a good day most anyplace else!

sja said...

Ellen, I'm glad you enjoy the stories ... visit often!

Cal, Denver Painting Contractor said...

Great story of years gone by!

Cal, Denver Painters said...

I Digg this story!lol Thanks Friend for publishing~

sja said...

Thank you Cal. Denver Painters!!

penny patten said...

Oh my, Thank You for sharing! What a story, reading a long then you come to the very scary part! I could picture you down on the ground looking up in total panic, and your little boy just wanting to get down. Then just talking about the food and how he would have rather waited to eat! Very well told!

sja said...

Thank you Penny Patten for stopping by ... visit again!

Sunmallia said...

You are such a great story teller I so enjoy your blog.

sja said...

Thanks again Sunmallia ...

modern viking vixen said...

i love the black and white pictures on your blog.

themodernvv.com

sja said...

Thank you Modern Viking Vixen ... those photos give the stories a sense of realness ...