By now the sun was setting, reminding us of sunsets past, and also nagging us that we were staying out too late. The shoreline is beautiful at night, though, especially as the lights of the rides and of the redemption games and the arcade spill into the muggy evening air. We cheated ourselves out of better rest for the drive to the airport so that we could have more time then.
One of the rides sunk with the partial collapse of Casino Pier was the Musik Express. They have a replacement, one that's put in about the same spot relative to the end of the pier, and this was one of our nighttime rides. It was a lesser ride this time, though; this one didn't have a cloud of soap bubbles released when the rides reached its top speed and the siren went off. Worse its operator wasn't chatty, didn't tease the riders and the onlookers to scream if they wanted to go faster, or backwards, or whatnot. The ride was all right, yes, but it was short of the little extra bits that make a ride great. Maybe we just had better ride operators in past years. Maybe they just weren't putting in their fullest effort for a Monday night crowd. Maybe joy is falling out of the world.
We were getting hungry, not hungry enough for a full meal, but aware also there wasn't quite the time to stop somewhere for a meal either. The pier had some stalls selling roasted corn, though, which I still haven't got used to places selling. (I also can't quite believe in amusement parks like Kings Island selling roast turkey legs.) Still, that was about the right amount of food and despite the ocean breeze we didn't actually get any clouds of chili powder flying directly into our eyes.
But we had to, eventually, have our last ride at the carousel, and we accepted the sad fact. We found the mounts that share our middle names --- the ones we rode that first day --- and climbed on them for the last time we would expect to see the Floyd L Moreland carousel, certainly at this location, possibly forever more. I don't know how I kept myself together.
We walked around it, and said our goodbyes, and cast on our hopes that something wonderful would happen, and left.
After this we walked down to the Berkeley Sweet Shop's little temporary facilities, to buy the salt water taffy bunny_hugger wanted for the plane flight. We had decided to buy it after the last carousel ride, so we could walk away from that to do something that wasn't dismal. This also brought us to the rides from Big Mark's Action Park, and we saw them running, despite their ridiculously tiny size and the way they looked like they weren't even set up yet. We didn't ride any.
Our car hadn't been towed, so I suppose we were legally parked after all. On the main exit Seaside Heights has signs urging the visitor to come back; for the first time, we didn't know whether we ever wanted to. With the deal to save the carousel in place, perhaps we will, but it's hard to say when, or in what circumstances. The world rarely feels quite so suspended.
Trivia: The Fairlane Town Center shopping mall, opened in Dearborn, Michigan, in 1976, draws the name from that of Henry Ford's old mansion, parts of the garden of which were needed for its construction. Source: Ford: The Men and the Machine, Robert Lacey.
Currently Reading: The Complete Fairy Tales Of The Brothers Grimm, Translator Jack Zipes.