Any time there is an opportunity for family fun, we like to be a part of it. The problem is that family fun is usually an expensive endeavor, and since I’m so cheap I have a pesky way of ruining the fun. That’s right, I’m the Debby Downer of a good time if it gets too expensive. 

But this weekend we decided to throw caution to the wind and take our babies to the fair that was set up in Fultondale. We made sure that they were going to get to ride every single ride and even played a few games for some amazing prizes along the way.

My worse memory as a child took place at a little fair that was held in front of the Big B Drug Store. I don’t remember all of the details but I do remember that my father allowed myself and my sister to ride the Ferris wheel. But this was no ordinary Ferris wheel, it was caged in and did flips while rotating.

Since we were young and care-free, we jumped right on it. Apparently my parents were in the isle of Big B when they heard screaming like never before. We were making such a scene that the carnival ride worker asked my dad if he wanted him to stop the ride to let us off. Being the amazing father that he is, he insisted that we finish out the ride... making us tougher in his mind, I’m sure.

Well, that had the opposite effect on us. From that moment on, all heights were the Devil and I would literally tear up when walking on fourth story balconies. It’s the only real fear I had to overcome. Thanks Dad! I have since forgiven my father for that day, but it took years to get past the mental anguish.

In all seriousness, it was scary, and  I’ve come a long way in my fear of heights, but Ferris wheels still scare the doodah out of me.

We have one daughter who shares my undying fear of Ferris wheels and another who tries to toughen her way through it. But our other two daughters have no fear at all. So our first ride was, of course, the Ferris wheel. With a few tears and lots of encouraging words from our sisters, we all made it through.

After we had accomplished that task, we were off to the races, riding everything that would make a stomach of steel want to blow. If it tilted, or whirled, or flipped, or dipped, we were on it. 

Then we hit the end of the row of rides and ended up at the Zipper. This ride had intimidation written all over it. It flipped three different ways while circling high in the air. 

Should we have been concerned that the technician was putting a new wheel on the ride and we were the first ones in line afterwards? Probably. But we were too high on excitement and fair fun to let it get us down.

Two daughters (surprisingly including one of the more scared daughters) volunteered to take on the ride, but since you had to have two riders per car, I couldn’t ride along. So we watched as they strapped our babies in and they began to flip around for what seemed like an eternity. We couldn’t see their faces, so we didn’t know if they were loving it or absolutely hating it and secretly plotting our deaths as I was my parent’s at the Big B parking lot so long ago.

The ride came to a halt and our two little troopers jumped out squealing with excitement. They were so happy, I went ahead and asked who wanted to ride with momma now. They both wanted to, so I offered to ride it twice, back-to-back. Not my smartest move. 

As we rode it the first time, I had no idea how those girls came out of there alive. It was like being beat up by a cart for 10 minutes. We did more than eight flips back to back and it never slowed down the entire ride. 

As the ride stopped, the excitement had built and when we exited the ride, the next daughter was ready to jump on board. I go right back on the ride and as soon as they closed the gate and we were in position, my daughter looked at me with big puppy dog eyes and proclaimed, “I don’t think I want to do this again. I don’t feel so good.”

Oh man! We were locked in a steel cage and no one could hear us. I put on my momma cap and rubbed her head, held her hands and told her that it wouldn’t last long. What a lie that was. I felt like that ride was never going to end. 

No space has ever felt smaller than that cage with my daughter screaming for her life, trying not to get sick and crying out to her helpless momma. It was awful! Not to mention we had taken the bear she had won as a prize on the ride with us. Is there anything worse than being slapped in the face by a flying stuffed animal while trying to console a screaming child? I think not.

The ride finally stopped and I held her as close as I could, the whole time praying that we would be one of the first ones off the ride. I need a better prayer life because we seemed to sit on that ride forever. It was a slow exit the first time, but this was getting a little ridiculous. Every time someone would exit the ride I would get hopeful that it would stop at us next. Nope. We sat patiently as I tried to talk my daughter out of being sick until she could at least have an open space to be sick in.

Then, as if Satan himself had set up this whole fair to destroy me, the ride began to go again. No exit, no one to hear my daughter’s screams... Just a lying mom who said she would make sure we got off as soon as we could, a slap-happy flying bear and a terrified, sick little girl. 

Since this was my third time to ride the Zipper in a row, I am now sick and trying to console my sick, and completely inconsolable, little girl. For what seemed like hours, we flipped around in that cage with that stupid bear bouncing all around us. By this time the rest of our family was standing at the bottom of the ride and I made sure they saw us and that they were getting us off that ride as soon as they could.

When the worker opened the cage he said, “Ya’ll don’t have the same smiles you had when you got on here.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that we had been on there for two painfully long rides. We just walked around and watched as the rest of the family rode two or three more rides. 

As we walked away I remembered the Big B fair that had traumatized me and I hoped that I hadn’t traumatized my own daughter the same way.

The next day we all talked about how fun the fair had been, but one daughter declared that she would never again ride the Zipper and her momma agreed. At least we made one more memory for our mental scrapbooks to talk about for years to come.

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