OPINION: Though we left penniless, Tupelo fair was fun

“I see nothing in space as promising as the view from a Ferris wheel.”
– E. B. White

“You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back.”
– William D. Tammeus

When I was a kid, every fall we’d eagerly await the coming of the county fair.
All the livestock and agricultural-type exhibits were housed in several Quonset huts that were part of the National Guard Armory.
Across the street where Grenada High School sits today was the part of the fair some of my friends preferred – the carnival.
Back in the day, I still had the courage to ride the rides, and I had my favorites – the Scrambler, the Tilt-a-Whirl and the Ferris wheel.
There was something about the way I lost my breath each time my seat on the big wheel made it to the top that was at the same time frightening and exhilarating.
It was a ride on the Scrambler during one of those annual fairs of my youth that cured me of rides forever.
Two friends and I were locked into one of the red-cushioned silver seats. As the ride commenced, we were fine at first, but just as our seat was thrust forward, our safety door came unlatched.
Thankfully, we were able to hang on for dear life until the ride stopped. But that was it for me.
From that point on, I’d just watch other folks either freak out or have fun being flung fast and free.
I’d also wander the midway and try my hand at some of the games in an attempt to win a prize.
It didn’t take long to learn the big, bright prizes hung to lure folks in were only for the big spenders. Imagine my disappointment when I popped the correct number of balloons, pointed to a stuffed panda bear but received a cheap plastic harmonica pulled from under the counter.
Still and yet, in those early fall days of my youth, a pretty pink fluff of spun sugar on a stick sweetened the experience.

Fun night for all
Last Tuesday evening two friends and I took three youngsters – one 6-year-old and two 9-year-olds – to the Tupelo Fair.
The adults rode no rides, but the kid trio would have ridden all night had they been allowed.
Thankfully, no one asked to play any games.
As always, there was fair food aplenty, and the pockets of the adults were empty when we left the fair.
But the smiles on the faces of Mary Catherine, David and Sarah Claire sweetened the experience for us oldsters.
So did the cotton candy.

Contact Leslie Criss at leslie.criss@djournal.com or (662) 678-1584.

Leslie Criss/NEMS Daily Journal