Merry-go-Rounds and Mayonnaise

After completely unplugging for several days, I am back and attempting to catch up on what I missed here in blog-o-land while away. I read post after post this morning and a bit this afternoon and evening when I could steal a few minutes. I found my head just spinning, trying to respond  to diverse thoughts and meaningful reflections; some funny, some lighthearted, one so very generous,  and some so compelling I’d just have to stop for awhile. And think.

When I was a kid, I grew up in a town not far from a beach and boardwalk, where there was a marvelous historic merry-go-round designed by the same carver who created the famous Coney Island carousel.

It is also one of only a handful of carousels in the world still featuring a working ring dispenser. Rings were once hand loaded by “ring boys,” as the young employees were called. The process was mechanized in 1950. Steel rings are used today, with brass plated rings added on special occasions. Riders on outside horses can grab rings from a dispenser as they spin, then toss them into a large clown’s gaping mouth, rewarded by bells and flashing lights.

I can remember, vividly, the fun of trying to get an outside horse, so that as the carousel spun us around, I would be positioned to grab a  ring on each pass, and attempt to get it in the clown’s mouth. It was dizzying, but fun and I did it over and over and over, no sooner focusing again on the ring dispenser than the moment the ring left my hand. Other than the old wooden roller coaster, it’s the most vivid and sense-filled memory I have of many visits to the Boardwalk.

That’s how I felt today…up and down, laughing with one post, sighing with another, relating to something, and pondering the next; round and round.

And then I realized that my thoughts were more scattered than usual, it was a challenge to frame my reactions and responses in a comment as I spun around. And, isn’t that just sometimes the best part of this, the comments? The dialogue – the hilarity, the community, the validation – that ensues from so many posts – has been such a welcome surprise.

I thought about it and I realized that our comments, just like in our in-person conversations, are how we show that we are listening. We can’t just nod our head, or  murmur an hmm-mmm in agreement. We meet each other with words; and today, plugging back in, I didn’t feel like I could quite reach the ring, let alone land it in its target. It was in reaching though,  that it became clear that it is important to me that you know that I am listening.

It also dawned on me that  in reading what you write, I feel stretched, to be better, to reflect more deeply and that the comments can bring out the best in us, sometimes just as much as our own posts, just in different ways. Some days what you write stops me in my tracks and sometimes the words I need to convey my thoughts – or depth of feeling – elude me.  Or just take their own sweet time to arrive.

Like the merry-go-round, this also reminded me of something familiar from childhood – it brought back an old staple of growing up –  mayonnaise. Well, not really mayonnaise, but the selling point employed in their advertising jingle: bring out the best.

I grew up in California where our mayo was known as Best Foods. My husband and I moved to DC when we were first married, and I remember searching high and low for the Best Foods: I scanned the shelves over and over looking for it, sure that I spotted it, not realizing I was seeing the same label with a different name. It wasn’t until I called a friend from home in CA, who had grown up in Baltimore, and while talking about the move and settling in, I mentioned the mayonnaise and she laughed. She had gone through the same thing when she moved from Maryland to California. Best Foods. Hellmans. All the same.

So for my east coast peeps and my west coast peeps and everybody in between and everywhere else,  know that when you post, you challenge me to keep reaching for the ring and to bring out my best.

PS – If you are one who really can’t stand mayo – I’m married to one – my apologies for an analogy that makes you say ewww! 🙂

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28 thoughts on “Merry-go-Rounds and Mayonnaise

  1. I know that I have chosen the right blogs to follow when I read a post that has been rattling around in my brain, too. So glad you put it to words. I’m writing in blog form because I want someone to read what I have written, to acknowledge that I have written something that someone deems a “like”.

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    • Isn’t that the best, when someone writes what you are thinking about? That happened to me a few times last week and it’s both validating and interesting – knowing the conversation is there, and getting a slightly different point of view! So glad you are here… 🙂

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  2. I enjoyed your post and LOVED your P.S. ‘cuz I’m one of those “ewwwwwwwers”. I got food poisoning from a baloney sandwhich loaded with mayonaise that had been left out in the sun way too long when I was a kid. The experience cured me from that stuff ever since!

    Russ

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    • I am so glad I made allowances for the ewwwers! I know…and honestly, I hardly eat the stuff anymore, but only out of healthy habits. My husband can’t stand the stuff, so I get it! Your experience sounds awful, I woudn’t eat it after that either!

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  3. I’ve been off line for a few days as well and starting catching up on a few posts in the car this morning. My hubby is driving and every now and then I laugh and me asks me to read a post out to him. Then I read another one and get teary and he says ‘Don’t read it to me!’

    Love this post and you’re so right – so many diverse thoughts and meaningful reflections 🙂

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    • I love it, that you are fitting in your blog reading on the road, and your hubby is too much! It’s a whirlwind of emotions when you read posts back to back, but just like the carousel, I’d rather be dizzy, and stay on for the next chance to grab the ring, than miss anything. Safe travels and I will look for your check-ins when you get a chance…enjoy your time to unplug too though 🙂

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  4. I never had the pleasure of the boardwalk…but have always loved the merry go round. The outside up & down one so that I wouldn’t miss a thing. I STILL ride the merry go round when given the opportunity….and as for mayo….hahaha….I prefer mustard, but when I DO choose mayo….I want the real thing! 🙂 Thanks for always inspiring, my friend! 🙂 p.s. , my sis and I have moved from state to state these past 15-20 yrs….I have mailed her Williams chili powder, Ranch style beans and now Tabouli, because they were not found where she lives. Sometimes its those little things that make your new home, “home”. ♥

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    • I still ride too, and not just because I have a kiddo – how could you resist!
      So, in OK is it Best Foods or Hellman? I have wondered where they draw the line! And you are right – it is the little things. I have since given up mayo for the most part – the occasional egg salad sandwich requires it, but my hips demanded a stand down years ago! Probably because it was a staple all through childhood! 🙂

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  5. You are far, far healthier than Hellman’s Mayonnaise..and I love the thought that our comments reflect our efforts to ‘hear’ each other. It is true, that the back and forth in blog-o-land is far more thoughtful, on point and heartfelt than in other communications. I like the idea that in doing so we’re talking to each other. That generosity is so you Bonnie – welcome home..

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  6. Blogging can be very overwhelming at times, especially when you’re trying to ‘catch-up’
    ps
    I grew up on the Jersey Shore and some of my fondest memories are riding the carousel at the boardwalk. I always chose a horse that stood still, because I couldn’t handle going up and down while going around and around 🙂

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    • Maggie…exactly, wanting to hear all the conversations is a bit overwhelming, but worth it 🙂 I love knowing that you had your own boardwalk and merry-go-round…imagine going around and around, up and down and trying to grab that ring…dizzymaking! 🙂

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