Sunday, May 29, 2011


Checked out the Midway at Omaha's SeptemberFest. What a blast! A large colorful invasion of plastic since I had been on a Midway, especially in the children's section. My favorite: huge green dragons whose round bellies opened to swallow a child.

I rode the merry-go-round. I always do. It's my favorite. That and the Ferris wheel. I love the view from the top of the wheel, although Omaha's wheel was nothing compared to the first Ferris wheel, the one that Mr. Ferris designed and built for the 1893 crowd at the World's Fair in Chicago. His stood 26 stories tall and could carry 2,160 passengers. Ferris meant his wheel to rival the Eiffel Tower. What a gas it must have been to ride! Took six stops to load all the passengers; then the wheel revolved just once. But what a revolution! I expect it hardly mattered that the wheel rose to only a quarter of the height of the Eiffel Tower.

I wanted to ride one of the ponies, but the sturdy little beasts wore no stirrups. The man who circled them around also lifted the young riders onto the saddles. I didn't think he'd lift me, so I watched. One little boy got positively glassy eyed, imagining himself wheeling across the prairie, I supposed.

Purchased an Italian ice, the first I had eaten since I had left New York in 1989. It was much bigger than the New York version, not as lemony, and the tiny chunks of ice had been ground into something like a pudding. I spooned away and watched all the rides I avoid: dropping from a great height, locked in a cage and tumbled around, spinning upside down and the like.

Then I bought a tiny cup of critter food and began feeding the goats. How they spotted me coming! They butted their tiny two-horned heads against each other in food frenzies. The Australian kangaroo was much smaller than I expected, and the tortoise much larger than my little box turtle but just as inclined to ramble. The zebra was neat, but the camel was awesome, his big bushy heady swirling much higher than the fence. This camel did not look content, and I had heard that the beasts spit, so I edged past him quickly. (To watch a camel spitting at a transvestite, go to

Wandered the huge grounds, listened to live music, and eyeballed the antique cars and trucks lined up for a contest. The older the vehicle, the more preposterous the design, it seemed. A truck so low its skirts almost touched the ground. A car with a grill so huge it looked like the entrance to a fun house. All of them seemed positively spit polished.

Figured I was due one new experience, so I bought a Chicken-on-a-stick, all warm juicy white meat inside and horrible peppery high-cholesterol dough on the outside. A fly and I fought over nibbling rights, so I left my nibbled stick high in the garbage for the fly and went home.

 How about you? What is your favorite midway memory?

Jared, the Subway Guy

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