That is one of those things that people say when what they really mean is “Can you believe that asshole? They haven’t grown up at all!” But sometimes you get to say it and all you mean is that some things do not ever, ever change.
Zoltar told us our fortune. We piled in a photo booth and had our pictures taken. We ate ice cream cones and greasy pizza for dinner. We went on the Gravitron and laughed as our arms turned to lead. The Freefall had me hysterical. The bumper cars did not let us down.
The Boardwalk at Rehobeth beach. Some things really do stay the same.
I walked over to ask a game attendant a question. “A million years ago there was a mermaid,” I said…. Instead of looking at me like I was tripping on acid she started to point towards the rides for small children. She didn’t need to answer. Because I saw her. And some things really never change.
She has been repainted a time or two in the twenty years that have passed since I have seen her. And it seems someone did something to the water that the boats go round and round in. It is no longer so … tan and sludgey. But she is there. I crouched down next to Em and said “This was my favorite ride when I was little, baby. I loved that mermaid. And now I am here with you and it is so crazy…” I hugged her. Emily more than tolerates my dramatic moments. She feeds right in to them. “I will go on that ride for you, mama. Even though it is for babies.”
I didn’t make her ride it. But I thought about it. But we had big girl rides to ride and more importantly – we had games to win.
I thought I should prepare Emily. Explain to her that carnival games are designed so that you almost win every time. Her first time out, it was the horse races. You roll the ball like skee ball and your horse advances. She won. Beginner’s luck. And then she catapulted a rubber frog on to a lily pad with a mallet. And then she tossed a wiffle ball right on to the red plastic cup. The kid was on fire.
She comes by it naturally. When my brother and I were kids my mom would win us stuffed animals on the boardwalk. It was the horse races that were her ace in the hole. She would get in the zone. The same stare she gets playing skee ball. And we knew that we would be going hone with the Jumbo prize.
Some things never change. And I couldn’t be happier about that.