Tuesday, July 5, 2016


On Sunday, we packed up our camping tent, our sleeping bags, our 3 Kindle Fires, our 3 iPhones and another couple electronic devices and headed to Diana’s Dad’s place for some 3rd of July camping.

Don Jacklich lives a block or two away from the big “Eyes To The Skies” carnival. Eyes To The Skies features a cavalcade of hot air balloons intended to cram the air with goofy shapes and heated helium. In the past 11 years I’ve attended Eyes To The Skies, I have seen exactly zero hot air balloons actually leave the ground. There is always some lame excuse like the safety of the occupants. Diana’s brother dubbed the event “Lies To The Skies.”

But that never seems to deter Elijah and Luca. They are there for the carnival rides, plain and simple. The boys have been inching closer and closer to scary rides* over the last few years. But I was still convinced they would stay in the kiddie area with the little cars that went in a circle or the little boats that went in a circle.


They wanted to ride “The Gravitron.” You’ve seen this thing before. It’s a cylinder of sorts. Kids climb in and then it goes round and round real fast and everyone gets pinned to the wall.  This is a ride we had to wait to experience as they hosed off the vomit.

I tried to convince them they were both much too short to ride. Unfortunately for my lying, there was a little measuring thing right next to the entrance that proved me wrong. I suggested this would be a great opportunity for their mother to bond with them both. Sensing they would see me vomit, they insisted I go. 

Inside this monstrosity, I leaned up against the wall and a teenager very politely asked the carney if it was okay to “go do tricks.” What? What tricks?

The ride started and within seconds we were pinned to the walls. I immediately thought I had died in a Gravitron related heart attack and was currently occupying the fifth circle of Hell, also called “The Gravitron.” Centrifugal force caused children’s faces to take on demonic grimaces. The teen who wanted to “go do tricks” was suddenly upside down. Another kid was horizontal, along the roof of the Gravitron, crawling around like a cargo short wearing crab.

Deep from within me came an animal-like shriek. I screamed, “I don’t want to be here! I want to go home! Please let me go home!” I also could hear Eli and Luca screaming, but in utter pleasure.

As the ride drifted to a halt, my boys led the chorus of, “Again! Again! Again!” I informed the ride operator that I would use every penny of my vast Hamann fortune to sue him if he started it up again.

Instead, the boys went immediately to the end of the line and rode The Gravitron again. Thankfully, they found riding without me to be even more exciting. I clutched Diana, shaking like a leaf.

We had officially separated the men from the boys.

*A couple weeks ago, Luca rode “The Zipper” with our friends Kitty and Joe. Right before the ride started, he soberly admitted he stepped in dog poop once and didn’t tell anyone. He needed to clear his conscious before what he assumed was certain death.

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