Step Right Up!

Burnaby's big ride

I know that this blog frequently reads like the longest trip down memory lane imaginable but I’ve long since forgiven myself for that kind of sentimentality. It’s simply a by-product of an overly reflective nature..and that’s not a bad thing.

Yesterday, though, I literally climbed aboard the nostalgia bandwagon. Rather, I rode my first merry-go-round in more than twenty years. It was the beautifully restored 1912 carousel that now resides indoors at the Burnaby Village Museum and it was a hoot. First of all, I don’t remember carousels moving quite that fast..but this one really zips. Secondly, the CW Parker Carousel is comprised entirely of horses. There’s no chickens on this one. I remember riding a carousel when I was a kid at a lakefront resort and being really disappointed if I had to ride the chicken. You were pretty much willing to kill other kids in the lineup to avoid being the one left with the chicken.

But yesterday I was astride a gorgeously gilded snorting steed. We were shooting a television feature on the attraction so I was going around (and up and down) in my sports jacket and turtleneck. I’m almost positive I was the only rider in a sport jacket and undoubtedly looked like a real goof but , nevertheless, I was unable to wipe the grin from my face.

We interviewed a couple of the people who helped save this treasure from the scrap heap and some of the school kids who were there for a field trip. You don’t find a lot of glum people hanging around a carousel. I’m sure some of the kids (the ones entering their too-cool-for-school phase) might have found it a little pedestrian. There’s a stage that children reach when any amusement park ride that doesn’t promise a fair measure of regurgitation is really a bit passe.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=carnival+ride&iid=7303968″ src=”b/b/0/2/Clarke_County_Virginia_dffe.jpg?adImageId=13032724&imageId=7303968″ width=”234″ height=”157″ /]  I remember those fateful years when the weight of parental responsibility forced me to accompany my two sons on an endless series of rides with names like The Vomitron. You get the same centrifugal force that NASA uses to train astronauts..it’s just dressed up with flashing lights, pounding music and a carny operator who always looks a bit like Bowzer from Sha Na Na.

The carousel is not like that. The carousel is a civilized whirl.

Your first time in the saddle

So you start on one (your Mom always stood next to you to hold you on the horse) and if you live long enough it might be the last carnival ride you’d still be willing to try. The carousel operators tell me that attraction is a very popular date venue. Really? It’s more reasonable than a movie and won’t make you quite as nauseous as 3-D. There are also a lot of people who want to have their wedding pictures taken on the merry-go-round. Do you think the bride and groom can possibly know that they’ve climbed aboard the best metaphor around?

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