Carousels and Splash Zones

Life and Happiness

My husband and I like to spend time at a local amusement resort near us. You would think we’re big coaster riders or even enjoy a myriad of other amusement park rides. But you’d be wrong.

We simply love the place and love to sit and soak in the atmosphere.

Knoebels Amusement Resort (not paying me in any way) has been around for a long time – all of my childhood and adulthood, in fact. I’ve gone at least one time almost every year of my life. The rides are nice and the food is some of the best. (Try Cesari’s pizza if you love a crispy crust!) But one of the things my husband and I love the most is the sitting.

You see, the park has a plethora of park benches placed all along the edges of the main concourses. You can walk a few feet, sit for a while, walk again a few feet and sit again. My husband and I love doing this because of two things: 1) the shade and the relaxation and 2) the people watching.

“People watching” sounds like it might include some judgmental comments, and you wouldn’t be wrong. I wouldn’t be an honest person if I said judgments did not leave our lips. However, there is a lot of admiration too.

As we sat and watched a variety of people from (seemingly) a variety of places, I began to notice a few things.

  1. Everyone loves an amusement park. There was such a wide variety of people in the park the other day. Black, white, Hispanic, Indian… you name the culture – we saw it (probably). Kids, teens, adults, and even older people walked through the park, stood in line for rides and enjoyed tasty treats. It was a melting pot of people.
  2. Everyone connects in some way. We saw a lot of dogs in the park that day (Yes, Knoebels is a pet accepting zone.) and a lot of pet loving people. If you had a dog with you, it was probably getting petted by someone you didn’t know. If you didn’t have a pet with you, you were petting some stranger’s dog. But the place I saw the connection happen the most? The carousel.  People of all ages, sizes, races, colors and creeds rode that brightly lit, musically entertaining piece of nostalgia. And I didn’t see a sour face among them. Adults helped kids to garner the best horses (the ones that go up and down, of course) and many shot to the outside for a chance at the brass ring. I saw men dressed “tough” and women dressed “goth”, but they all enjoyed that moment, together, bound in a never-ending circle, without a care in the world. Smiles, laughter and shouts of joy mingled with the calliope’s never-ending refrain. What a sight to behold.

I walked away from the carousel’s tinkling music thinking, What if it was that easy to bring people together in every day life? 

Later, we stood and watched kids (and adults) enjoying the Skloosh ride. This is one of those wide boats that comes down a waterfall of water, soaking its passengers and many in the surrounding area off the ride, too. The riders would run off the ride, soaked to the bone, to wait out another boat full of folks coming down the shoot so they could get drenched again. Once again, I saw people of all colors and age enjoying the splash – some right in its wake, some getting only slightly wet and some on the edges (like us). But when the water hit – everyone smiled. Faces full of pure, unadulterated joy from just a bit of splashed water surrounded us.

Once again, I thought, What if we just decided to enjoy life?

If we got soaked in a rain storm, would we be happy about it? If someone splashed us with their car while we were walking, we wouldn’t be too thrilled. But these folks all had smiles on their faces!

How do we not let the outside world influence us, but listen only to the delightful sounds around us? It doesn’t have to be a calliope organ or the rush of water upon our faces – what about a child’s laughter? Or birds singing? Or the sigh of a baby after he’s been fed, his belly full and his life content? What if we simply enjoyed each other? It doesn’t always have to be a fight. We can enjoy the same things – it’s a proven fact at Knoebels.

I want to take that feeling of contentment I had at Knoebels and try to apply it to every day life. I want to smile at the little things and let the hard things not get such a foothold on my life. I want to spend my days like I’m walking around an amusement park.

Does this sound a little odd or out of touch? Maybe. But I’m going to try it anyway.

How about you?

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