A cool fool


Is it really not cool for moms who are nearly 50 to be “cool”? If that means simply wanting to have fun, then I “cast my fate to the wind” at our local street fair. Slang meanings aside, the heat from the afternoon sun bounced at us for the second time from the pavement. The hand stamp and wristband was a better deal than buying tickets. Let’s see, I needed to ride 4 or 5 rides to come out ahead – no problem. Instead of standing a watching, I might as well be doing something while I get sunburned.

The teenager who came with me went off with friends. That meant unless little sister ran into her friend, she’d be ridin’ with mom.

She looked happy as a we hopped up on her first choice, the “Sea Ray”. It is a large boat with rows of seats on each end facing the middle. It swings back and forth “over the waves” a bright octopus painted on its.

As my end descended, it felt like going down a roller coaster hill, but smoother, then rocked us back up in the opposite direction.

The rush of air was a relief to my flushed face. Kat turned her grinning pink cheeks toward me shouting “Isn’t this fun!” I smiled and screamed along with the pack of passengers. My hair was flying, the zig zag part I had worked to make was gone.

Soon after we left the ship, we found two girl scout friends and their moms. The kids wanted to ride the “Round Up” which is up the street.

“You’re riding?” the other moms quipped, “Great, we’ll stay here under the tree and watch your stuff.” (My bag and water bottle.)

We all lined up around the large circular platform with see-through wall around its edge. A vinyl mat padded the wall behind each designated compartment with metal ropes to crawl under across the front. Riders were still boarding. In position against my mat, I looked across at a 7 or 8-year-old boy I remembered seeing often when I volunteered at the school library. I looked across till we make eye contact, then I waved. Could he admit he remembers me? He quickly lowered his eyes.

The platform began to turn. Picking up speed, we were pressed by the centrifugal force against our backpads. I looked over at Kat who has inherited my chubby cheeks.

“My cheeks are vibrating,” I yelled at her.

“This one’s my favorite, mom!” she yelled back.

We stood on the spinning wheel tilting further and further on edge. We seemed to be almost upside down. We started slowing down (That was a short ride, I thought).

“Keep your feet on the floor!” the ride operator’s forced voice bellowed. Several pairs of feet on the cage-like wall were put back on the floor. The wheel sped up again; and, almost as though to make up for slowing us, the ride went on and on.

I waved again at the boy on the other side and smiled. His wry smile came back across at me. He waved. I melted.

We kept circling. I tried to enjoy the view, but my lips, pressed against my teeth, were feeling stiff and dry. The thrill was gone, I was ready to stop.

We went back to the other moms who were enjoying the shade of one of the precious, few trees. “How was it?” they wondered.

“Fine,” I decided, “but I like that one better.” and pointed to the Sea Ray. We boarded the ship again three times during the afternoon and went back to the ROUND UP twice squeezing in as many rides as we could before the matinee time ended.

Once, when we had caught up with the teenage set, they sat across from us on the ship. I made a face at them wagging my fingers in my ears. While they laughed, I questioned what I had just done, “Oh, well, so they think I’m weird.”

On the way home, teenager Jo said, “My friends think your cool, mom.”

I woke up the next morning with a mild sunburn and a stiff neck. Or did she say “fool”?

Get our Top Stories in Your Inbox

Next step: Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.