Norman’s Annual Carnival: Goblets, Girls and the Tilt-A-Hurl


Every year, at a certain time, I think May-ish, the Lion’s Club Carnival came to town.

It was always tucked way back in the grotty, southwest corner of Main Street and the railroad tracks.

By my estimation, I spent approximately $9,000 there during my childhood.

In nickels.

Because you had to pitch nickels to win the glassware.

The tiny little root mugs were kind of cool. The plates sucked, and always broke before you could get them home.

But the big ol’ goblets were awesome.

It took a really soft touch to chuck a nickel about 10 feet away, and get it to stay inside the goblet.

Sure, occasionally you’d get lucky with an errant bounce. But most of the time, you had to be perfect to win.

And, as I said, I spent about $9,000 developing that deft touch.

Over the years, I won dozens of goblets in a rainbow of colors, which no doubt thrilled my Mom, because she had to make room for them in the cupboard.

Then, in the dog days of summer, my best friend and I would pull out the goblets and engage in a serious Root Beer-drinking session.

Carnival Rides

The annual carnival also had a few rides — the lame kiddy ones, and the kind that you didn’t want to go near if you’d just eaten Mexican food.

The Tilt-A-Hurl was clearly one to steer clear of. Any fool knew that, *Todd.

But the one that featured individual swings on really, long chains seemed reasonable enough to try.

It would twirl, and the seats would swing out wide, building up speed with every rotation, until they were flat moving.

The really “cool” people would somehow grab the swing in front of them and give it a push or a kick to propel it into orbit.

I was actually standing in line when I noticed that somebody already on the ride kept spilling their Coke every time their swing passed by.

Except that it wasn’t Coke…

Which explains why I did not go on that particular ride. Garf.

As the years went by, my “goals” for the carnival, shall we say, “matured”.

I was still trying to win goblets, or teddy bears, but the “end game” was to shower the winnings on some little darling with really short cut-offs, and thus win her undying affection.

For least for 10 minutes. Like that was ever going to happen.

I will say, however, that one of my friends, who did have that gift, did indeed gain the undying affection of a young lady which, a bit later, involved my personal waterbed.

I know. MY waterbed. Being used for teenage hijinks. That did NOT involve me.

Anyhoo. I think I won six or seven goblets that year. And I didn’t puke even once.

So there’s that.


* You know who you are…


For more Okie memories, click here.



Leave a Reply

Share This