Going with Grammy to the nearby plaza and riding on the carousel was such a special occasion. I remember walking hand-in-hand with her and when the carousel came into view I squealed, let go of her hand, and rushed toward the carousel and my favorite horse, Daisy, a prancing white, wooden horse with an English-style saddle sitting atop a purple, lavender, and green blanket decorated with gold bells along the bottom. I handed the quarter Grammy had given me to the operator, a kind elderly gentleman whom I nicknamed Mr. Peppermint because of his gray pants, white shirt, red and white striped jacket, and red bow tie.
“Here’s my fare, Mr. Peppermint. I want to ride Daisy, please.”
He took my quarter, opened the gate, and escorted me to Daisy, hoisting me up on her saddle.
“Hold onto the pole real tight,” he said.
He waved his red and white striped cane making the carousel start and I marveled at the man who magically made the carousel go round ‘n round. Slowly it turned, then gently faster, and Daisy strutted up and down. There was something almost intoxicating about feeling the gentle breeze tousling my hair, watching the bobbing animals, and listening to the sound of the whistling carousel music.
“Reach for the brass ring!” Mr. Peppermint yelled, as Daisy and I passed under the wooden arm suspended above the riders that released small grabbable rings.
Most rings were iron, but one or two were made of brass and redeemable for a repeat carousel ride. I was never able to actually grab an iron ring, let alone a brass one. I simply didn’t have the necessary dexterity and timing. Nonetheless, I yearned for a brass ring and never gave up trying to grab one.
I spent untold days riding the carousel and chalking up countless memories. In fact, my entire childhood was filled with a carousel of wonderful memories: running barefoot through sprinklers, spotting a dropped dime on the sidewalk, constructing a paper airplane that hovered above the sidewalk like a seagull, and hearing the ice cream truck turning into the neighborhood with carnival-like music announcing its arrival.
Oh, how I wish I could circle back to those simple, effortless days—days that seemed to go on forever. But life, like a carousel, is constantly in motion making it impossible to return to those days. Instead, I close my eyes imagining myself a child once again, reliving many of my special, memory-filled days. I feel Grammy’s love as she wraps her hand around mine. I’m filled with joy listening to the carousel music and hearing her sweet laughter. I feel Mr. Peppermint’s kindness as he carefully lifts me onto Daisy’s beautiful saddle. I see Daisy’s beautiful saddle and feel the magic of the carousel’s gentle circular motion. Ride, ride the carousel. I whisper. Reach for the brass ring, never to finish but to begin again. Life is a circular thing.