We got checked into a room that had three beds which worked out well for us, the boys Randy and Tim got one, Melissa got one, and there was one for us without having to get a roll away for anyone like we had in the past, Melissa was in the bathroom changing into her bathing suit soon after I got the door opened, Tim went next and then it was Randy’s turn, Cindy is getting the kids lined out and I am still unloading the station wagon, just as I reach the door with the last suitcase I hear “Seriously Mom there is a snake” I was nearly trampled with everyone running out of the room, I gather my family back up to get all the facts together, seems there is a snake in the bathroom Randy saw it while he was changing clothes Cindy tells me, OK I know Randy is a prankster (not sure where he got that from) so I have to go see if it is so and sure enough coiled up under the sink is a small snake just giving me the eye, I tell Cindy to call the desk and I’m going to keep an eye on the snake so we don’t lose him. Cindy is not happy when she gets off the phone, she tells me the answer she got when she told them about the snake was “at least you wont have mosquitoes in your room” Lucky for him the manager comes to the door about that time and she didn’t have to go after him.
I was still keeping an eye on the snake and here comes this man with a golf club and a small trash can, I can see this is going to work so I grab the camcorder to document what is going to be good, he goes into the bathroom and I hear clunking sounds followed by a scream, out comes the manager followed by the snake who makes a turn and disappears behind the dresser, Cindy is now carrying our suitcases out the door, the dresser was removed drawers pulled out and the snake was never found, we gladly moved to a room with the risk of mosquitoes and finally got to take the kids for a swim.
The carnival was set up down the road and we thought after all the excitement of the snake and the long ride we would take the kids to have some fun, can’t be that far so we decided to walk since we had been in the car all day. Carnivals are not near as close as they look when you are walking down the road from the motel, we finally got there and the kids were ready for some fun, Randy wanted to play games, Melissa and Timmy wanted to ride the rides, Cindy and I were trying to keep up with them, we get Tim and Melissa in line for the Zipper and walk Randy through the games, after a while we go to check on them and they are finally next to get on, the ride stops everyone unloads and Melissa steps forward to get on, instead she got a hand in her face from the Carney halting her to allow a group of people cut in front of her, this group fills the ride and our kids are told they needed to find something else to do because he was taking a break after this, we found out later this group was supposedly a local gang.
Miss Cindy says Oh Hell No and proceeds to inform the Carney that our kids would be riding, he says nope he was shutting it down for a break after this ride. Cindy is now looking for a manager, I ask How are you going to find a manager of a Carnival in a town we don’t even know, she turn and points and says “There he is” needless to say she is right, she walks up to him and sticks out her hand asking if he was the manager, he shakes her hand and confirms he is the manager, Cindy begins with introducing herself by Full Name, Where We Live, the full story of what had happened, and what she expected he would be doing about it and ending with “We don’t act like this where I come from”.
He offered to give our money back and give the kids a free ride, Cindy says I don’t want your money and he wont be giving my kids a ride but he will apologize to them, Melissa is tugging on Cindy’s shirt whispering “it’s OK Mom” Cindy says It’s not OK you will get an apology, here we are about halfway into a trip a days drive from our home and more than that from our destination in a town we don’t know and my wife is making the manager of a carnival force one of his carnies to apologize to our kids for allowing the local gang members cut in front of them, The Carney was not too happy but did apologize and apologized again when Cindy pointed out that he did not sound sincere, I was happy to see him attempt to sound like he meant it because my wife loves her kids and you know how a Momma Hen is when it comes to her chicks, I could see this man was about to be flogged.
Cindy was happy for a brief moment, then we turned around to see all eyes were on us, remember those old EF Hutton commercials well here we were and all I could hear were the crickets chirping, we are walking away when Cindy asks me “Oh God What did I just do”, I told her it’s not that you were wrong it’s just that your timing was wrong because we are a mile away from our car walking out of a carnival we are not welcome at anymore. It wasn’t a problem that she made a stand for the kids but how many cars were sporting a Yellow New Mexico license plate in that town? The answer is one and it’s on the white Taurus station wagon with the Jimmy and Cindy tag on front sitting at the motel just up the road, we are now walking back in the dark.
Next morning we went down to breakfast to see the only other customers at the restaurant was the Manager of the carnival and our favorite Carney, we left Arkansas soon after breakfast, and our trip home after going to South Carolina kind of put me in mind of lyrics in Charlie Daniels song Uneasy Rider;
♫ “I wonder if anybody'd think I'd flipped. If I went to LA via Omaha!” ♪
Nothing against you fine folks from Arkansas but we just had to take I-20, which misses Arkansas all together.