The Brass Ring

I asked my daughter tonight if she wanted to ride the carousel. “Yes!” was her resounding answer. Next, I asked if she wanted to ride the horses that go up and down or choose an outside horse and try for the brass ring?

Literally and figuratively, at ten, she didn’t know what I meant.

Most children at that age don’t understand. They’ve never heard the concept or the phrase and certainly they’ve never played the game on the carousel on the boardwalk until one special night in their life, just like tonight.

So, we showed her how it worked. She thought it would be so very easy as I explained it. But like shooting for your dreams and attempting something new, seeking success – it isn’t easy… the rings are stuck in the chute. They hurt your fingers as you grab for them (I know, I caught 6 of them.) When I missed one, she looked at me with shock, dismay and disbelief.

She took a turn next. Moving from the movable horse to the outer ring…easier for me to watch from the sidelines. It was interesting to watch as the carnies make the game happen each turn on the ride. One fills the rings into the chute – acting like a magician – waving his arms around dramatically, showing the entire audience and group of riders the special ring. Placing it in the chute, it is just a matter of time, about 10 more rings until the final, special one, appears at the end – just beyond reach for so many…

Then someone wins!

The other guy quickly jumps onto the carousel to present the winter with a ticket for a free carousel ride as he takes away the brass ring so they don’t keep it as a souvenir. It is sad, but completely ok to turn it in (you kind of have to do it, they don’t give you much of a choice) and even a ten year old knows that they have earned something far better than a shiny ring of metal. Proud, accomplished and successful. You can’t experience it unless you reach for it.

~ Dawn aka Hat Girl

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