At the end of the last best weekend of the summer, we went to the neighborhood festival. Dry buns and cool ketchup; cold beer and good tunes.
The band was the Apostles, ripping through 60s and 70s standards, and presumably accustomed to the sight of grandpas dancing with little kids to Cheap Trick tunes. Or priests: A church operates the festival, so you get the occasional padre nodding his head to that mod, crazy beat the kids seem to dig.
Well, no. But every time I visit this festival I feel like I’m in 1964. A few years ago they offered Segway rides, which ruined the timeless mood and let you experience he modern thrill of looking like dorcus americanus. This year they had rides. This year they had a wheel . . .
. . . and if you examined it closely, it really felt like 1964. It had seen some wear, this ride - peeling paint, splintered wood on the cars. Yes, wood. The ride chuffs and clacks like an old giant robot doing windsprints, but you don’t hear it when you’re riding: the screams drown everything out.
Word of advice: never look at the stack of wood they use to level the ride. NEVER. Not until you’ve taken the ride, anyway.
Another ride was well into its second half-decade:
This one probably came from the early 70s. The name, the typeface - everything screams an era in which Brian Keith was a major star.
When you tired of being hurled around or thrown up in the sky, you headed to the tents. Lots of games for the kids. For the tots, easy stuff - drop the ball in the pail, get a small useless plastic item! But for older kids, skill was required. You don’t win, you don’t get a prize. Good! None of this everyone’s-a-winner nonsense; if you came away with a bag of random swag, you earned it.
At the end of the day, fireworks. We were home by then, but the sound slapped against the houses and echoed down the streets. A neighbor was so overcome by the detonations he managed to produce a string of Black Cats in just a few minutes, and he set them off in counterpoint. Happy Cacophony. Summer’s done.