How time moves along
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I was inside, making a rootbeer cake, doing what I think of as a kind of combat with the weather, which was so hot I lost track of the line between my own skin and the air. Everything was heat and hot and heated and there are mechanisms for survival that kick in on days like that, and they did. Patience becomes a greater virtue, and then there’s the move toward the kitchen and something smooth and cool, and thoughts race toward what to do next to keep the kids from pickin’ at each other.
The answer was distraction, which works in most situations when there’s a long, hot day ahead. So on Sunday morning we piled into the car and drove south and made a few turns and after an hour we were there: Amusement Park Central. Rollercoasters galore, and a lot of people wearing few clothes, and fountains all round with which one might cool oneself. Something I, to the kids’ eye-rolling, did. I didn’t climb INTO any of them, but the thought was there. No, I simply dipped my hands in the spray and splashed myself whenever we passed a fountain on the way to the next rollercoaster. Perhaps why my sunburn was so awful, the kind that brings shivers and sore skin and the search for the giant bottle of aloe which is like a truth serum for the skin.
Mine is a rollercoaster family and we must have ridden them 20+ times. Mr. Sundberg leads the pack, and his favorites are those on which the kids scream loudest and gasp for air amidst laughter as they disembark. Mr. Sundberg doesn’t gasp, or laugh much, but there he is with a big ol’ grin on his face, and the first to say, “Again!” I don’t have any objection to the rollercoaster. Any rollercoaster. Once you give birth, things change that way and fear is much less an option in general. The thrill is there, of course, but things just aren’t so scary when you’ve survived, multiple times, the planet Earth passing through your own body.
My ride, though, the one where joy courses like adrenaline and I’m most likely to holler, is the Tilt-a-Whirl. Mr. Sundberg opts out on this one as a rule. There’s no convincing him; I’ve tried. Choice of amusement park rides is a personal thing, and no one ought to have to explain why not. For me, something glorious happens when the kids and I are pinned by a force of man and nature to the back of the Tilt-a-Whirl car, and we simply hold on for dear life together and spin together through the heat, our sides aching and our eyes closed tight.
To be perfectly honest, though, the ride I can’t miss, the one that takes me back in time, is the Carousel. Something about it. The strange, loud, organ music, the breeze as you ride up and down on a plastic black mare, the way, when I turn back to look, the kids are smiling. They look free. And happy. They look like I feel. And Mr. Sundberg, away from the music, is eating a funnel cake at a green bench. He waves and I wave back. My eyes fill with tears. They always do, on Carousels. Something about how time moves along. Can’t ever go back, but it feels like you have sometimes. You know?
Next time a hot day rolls around, which is tomorrow, it appears, this is the cake to bake. You’ll be the Hero of the Hot Day, and one small piece won’t be enough, so cut ’em big.
Rootbeer Float Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
12 oz rootbeer (A&W works for me)
3 oz instant vanilla pudding
1 tsp rootbeer extract
8 oz Cool Whip
1 stick melted butter
1 cup pwd sugar
1 tsp rootbeer extract
Mix and bake cake at 350 in a 9×13 greased cake pan, 25-30 min or until firm.
Mix frosting ingredients together.
When cake is completely cool, frost and refrigerate.
You can make Orange Dreamsicle cake by substituting orange soda for
the rootbeer and orange extract for the rootbeer extract.