Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I remember getting a free ride...

I was probably 11 or 12, and our family was visiting the Red Deer Exhibition. There were fairway rides, carnival games, a little rodeo, and a show in the evening. It was quite an outing for us, and my little sister and I were very excited!

I remember sitting on the grass in the sunshine eating the lunch that Mom packed so we wouldn't have to buy food. I remember scouring the area with my sister to get pop cans and beer cans so we could get the money later. I remember running into Tommy Hunter on the midway and asking for his autograph, secretly shocked because he was drinking a beer! (Hadn't I seen him singing hymns on his TV show? How could he sing gospel and drink beer? I was confused.)

I also remember not having any money to go on the rides. Mom gave us permission to go look at the midway, but no money for ride tickets...our family just couldn't afford it. I don't think us kids felt too resentful, but we couldn't help feeling a bit disappointed. At least we were allowed to roam--we were thankful for that.

As we strolled along, a carnie called out to us. "Hey, girls, come ride the Tilt-a-Whirl!"

I felt like such a hick. "We don't have any money."

He paused a second, then hollered out to us, "Aw, come on, anyway...I can't run the ride unless I have two more people."

Sis and I looked at each other. Did he mean for free, or were we going to have to pay? I felt very uncertain. "Come ON!!" he hollered. So we jumped on the ride, hoping we wouldn't have to bring our parents over later to pay for our foolishness. The ride was exciting, we screamed our heads off, and then it was over. He waved to us as we left...and that was it! He hadn't asked for tickets! It really was free!

I still wondered about the incident, so when we went running back to Mom to tell her all about it, I asked her if it was right to take the free ride. I'll never forget her answer. "Honey, if someone gives you a gift, you don't make them feel bad for giving it. You smile and take it, and say thank you very much." Spoken like a true pastor's wife!

I would be reading a book, and some character in the book would say "We don't accept charity!" and I just wouldn't understand how they could be so cruel and proud and thoughtless. It never seemed like a positive quality to me after that lesson from Mom.


annacond said...

Cool comment from your Mom, I like that. My mother had the same attitude. They aren't the same age, but maybe it was a generational-thing?

I will say this though: sometimes it's a lot easier to give than to receive. Total pride thing, I guess.

papa herman said...

What a cool ride operator! And what a good comment from your Mom!! As a parent, I need to remember that with my kids.

Of course your story reminds me of a story... some of the minimum custody inmates from our prison were given a job to take care of the trash at our local fair. I believe a supervisor would go with them, but basically they would walk all over the fair grounds and perform their job.

Inmates are not allowed to have ANY money.

So... one of our Associate Superintendents is at the fair and what does he see? But one of the inmates riding the Mechanical Bull; which costs $5.

The Assoc Superintendent was not too please with this... but I find it rather humerous.

I wonder who gave him the $5, or if the person who ran the mechanical bull just let him have a go at it?

Spoke said...

I've had free rides in Police cars...not as fun, maybe I did scream a bit though. I've learned a lot from "mom"...Meadow's mom.

Kim said...

It's a cool story and lesson. I wish I had that wisdom when I was younger (when I was much younger I did accept what was given to me, when I was older and looked on it as 'charity' it wasn't so easy) Too many years of life I spent living off pride and barely able to handle charity....now I hope I'm a little more graceful in accepting what people are loving enough to give, and giving lovingly to others that might have to live off charity too....

Vic Nelson said...

A few weeks ago I was running Noob's (my pally Beef's LAN gaming center) and a kid who looked about ten came in and just stared with big eyes at all the big screens and computers. I asked him if he came to play some video games and he shyly replied "umm...I don't know" with a shrug. I rephrase the question two or three times until he finally asked how much time a dollar could buy him. I didn't have the heart to tell him no. I only asked him to come tell me if he left before an hour was up. He left approx 45 min later without telling me then came back about 5 hours later to tell me he was leaving. Funny kid.

Thinkin back on it, I really shouldn't have let him play. There's too many violent games in there. I think he ended up playing Grand Theft Auto Vice City.

toomanywhatifs said...

I LOVE your mom's advice. I can't tell you how many times I've tried to pay for a lunch, or return a favor or even simply give a complement and been flatly denied the priveledge of doing so. It's very disheartening. I'm nonconfrontational, so if I have to fight with a person in order to be generous with them...I just won't and it makes me sad. It takes all the fun out of it. Thanks for sharing that. I'm trying to teach my kids the same thing.

Emily said...

I love your mom's advice. I have such a hard time recieving (pride issues I guess!). I'd much rather give then recieve. I need to remember her advice.

canadiangirl said...

see?! everyone loves you!!!

Kim said...

I know I love you. (Thanks for the teensy chat on Sunday, I promise next time I'm down I'll drop in on you, this is getting redekoolus)