Today at the Amusement Park
By Wil A. Emerson
When Louis ran away to join the carnival, it was his mother's assumption that her son would be back in his own bed by the end of the day. This was a kid who didn't go to sleep before he ate a snickerdoodle. Who still sucked his thumb when his favorite NFL team lost their game. This was a kid who had a narrow window open on reality. Who would see a picture of a dinosaur and cry for fear that humans were next in line for extinction.
So when the third day of parting ways had come and gone, Ethel May took to her bed. As if Louis had split her heart in half, she barely got through an hour without a gasp and gag fit that caused her to faint.
Homer Carr had to revive his wife with the only other thing Ethel Mae really loved—big scoops of peppermint ice cream. Between bites, they shook their heads, wrung their hands and waited for the spasms to end. Then Homer Carr would grab a bag of sugar cookies for himself, ease back into his recliner and hope for the best.
Louis had always been a difficult child but this time it seemed he'd done his best to exceed the limit of their adoration and forgiveness.
"I can go yank that kid of ours off that Ferris Wheel those clowns have him working on. That dang kid can't count them chairs as they go round and round. How do they think he'll know how to take money and make change?" Homer Carr's head dipped to his open hands.
"No, I don't want you a'going over there and pulling a stunt. You got that wobbly disk in your back. Ain't I got enough to worry about?" And Ethel Mae started wailing all over again.
Homer Carr sprung up from his comfort chair and rushed to the refrigerator. "That boy's got to come back, Ethel Mae. This is the last gallon of peppermint ice cream they had at the Piggly Wiggly."