When I got home from work, the dogs and I went out back to play.  Walking around the yard, I smelled carnival.  Turns out it was a neighbor grilling, but until I figured that out the smell evoked long ago memories.

Every year the carnival comes to town.  It doesn’t matter what town you live in, here in Michigan, every town gets the carnival (or so it seems).

Maybe you see the semi trucks with the disassembled rides on the highway or you pass a set up carnival at night that wasn’t there that morning, it’s then that you know summer has arrived.

In the blink of an eye an empty parking lot becomes a world of fun rides where the air is full of delicious smells and the sounds of happiness.

As a child, the carnival coming to town was so exciting.  While my parents tried to find a parking space I looked out the window in awe at the wonder of it.  Brightly colored rides spinning and swirling with people screaming and laughing; pastel colored food carts advertising elephant ears, corn dogs, and cotton candy; and, of course, the games.  The games that always proved to be more difficult than they looked…”but I really want the giant teddy bear.”

I rarely rode any of the rides as I suffered from motion sickness, but there was still something so magical about that one summer night each year.  The carnival was so vast with so many things to see – there couldn’t possibly be enough time to see it all.

After the Ferris wheel, the attempts to win the teddy bear but ending up with a gold fish, corn dog and cotton candy; with the sun set and cool(er) night air setting in, the little version of me was tired and I remember the warmth of the car and the sleepy rides home.

And in another blink of an eye it was gone until next summer.