I wanted to be like my father,
who was a cattle man and rodeo roper.
And that was – he was my hero,
and I wanted to be more like him.
~Dave Brubeck, American jazz pianist and composer
Shortly after the beginning of the year, a sign starts flashing “this thing is legendary,” and huge trucks loaded with equipment roll onto the grounds of Will Rogers Coliseum. But before the livestock comes, before the vendors come, before the riders come, before the spectators come, the carnival trucks are unloaded and construction of the Stock Show midway begins. Soon afterwards the Ferris Wheel and other rides rise high above the surrounding fences, the midway opens, and the “oldest continual running livestock show and rodeo” becomes a daily part of everyday life here in Fort Worth once again. And each year when I see the Ferris Wheel on the stock show grounds, I’m transported back to my childhood in Long Beach, California, and that stretch of beach with the amusement park about a mile down from our house. Even though I was forbidden to go there alone, the call of the midway fun and the cotton candy was just too strong to resist. So from time to time between the ages of 10 and 12 I’d steal away to Rainbow Pier with a few dimes in my pocket and secretly partake of the Pike’s allurements. I must have picked my days well and not tarried any longer than I should because my disobedient treks to the Pike faded into obscurity undetected.
Our move to Texas when I was 13 not only brought an end to my life in southern California but also to my childhood. Its halcyon days, however, continue to be my “precious, kingly possessions” and a treasure house of cherished memories. And I hold fast still to the pleasures and memories of that portion of my life which was filled with a constancy of joy that has never since been equalled. But then perhaps, it is not the constancy of joy that changed, just the earnestness of the seeker to look for it because according to Scripture we have a promise from God that joy comes in the morning, every morning.
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouts of joy. ~Job 8:21 ✝