Fool’s Gold

One of the reasons I’m convinced we become parents is to relive the parts of our childhood that don’t lay right. This is why I don’t make my kids clean their plates and have never once forced lima beans and potato pancakes on anyone after the whole vomit-gag incident of ’76 (never forget). 


Yesterday my daughters and I visited a favorite haunt from my childhood, Frontier Town, where we panned for gold and made small talk with two cowboys while in line to buy soft pretzels. Cowboys favor Pepsi, as it was a very hot day and they were dressed in woolen pants and shirts with vests and the requisite hats. They were mighty friendly and one even volunteered that he loved his job. He broke the fourth wall and made our wait less awkward.


The first time I visited Frontier Town, I was about eight years old. I was still young enough to appreciate a mock western town where you could ride a stage coach and pan for gold, but old enough that self consciousness had settled in. The one memory that really stands out is not wanting to dance with Indian chief Red Bird at the ceremonial show. I stood there like a sore lump while the other idiots jumped around and waved their hands in the air and took complimentary paper headdresses at the end. My dad would not let me take one because I had brought shame and dishonor to my family in my fear of dance.

I do not like dancing to this day, except to look silly on purpose. You can imagine my horror when my daughters and I attended the Indian show and they again invited us up to dance and my nine-year old asked me to join her.


I wish this was the part where I could write about how I looked her square in the eye and said “Of Course!” and then we skipped to the ring and made Red Bird’s spirit proud. Instead I spent two minutes trying to get my teenager to take her sister up and another minute asking the younger one if she was sure she really wanted to go and by that time the circle of very brave parents and children closed and it was too late. 

Instead I distracted them with a “Hey look, a teepee! Do you think we can go inside?” though it was as empty as my rhythmless soul. I doubt we’ll head back again so I figure I have one more chance, and that’s assuming I get grandchildren (which I clearly don’t deserve) and that Frontier Town is still around then. 

Look at how much fun we’re having

I know I should have just gotten up to dance, yesterday and in 1980. I did spend a good half hour panning for Fool’s Gold so both my kids could fill their ample plastic tubes, which Gold Rush miners would have loved to better admire their hard work. We also played putt putt golf and rode water slides and the lazy river at least a dozen times, which didn’t exist during the Gold Rush or the early ’80s, but our world is better for it now.

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19 thoughts on “Fool’s Gold

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  1. Lima beans? I concur. But potato pancakes? Well, you never had my mom’s potato pancakes, they were mushy and flavorless, but I loved them.
    Since I quit drinking, I am also not a fan of dancing aka making a fool of myself by jerking around various parts of my body spasmodically since I have absolutely zero rhythm, but believe me, when you take your grandchildren to Frontier World, you will dance just to hear your grown kids say, “You never did that for us.”

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I love reading about your day out. Lovely family scene. 🙂
    I have always wondered why dancing, singing and crying are such emotional happenings that they get the point of transfer of shame. Still don’t know. Because they are so emotional? Or show so directly the inner state of somebody? Dunno.
    What I like about being sober is that these experiences can be experienced as they are. When drinking, in this situation I would have drunk away the feelings of shame about dancing, the irritation towards my parents, sadness about what was taken from me, including my irritation about my inability to put it all aside and so on and so forth, a blame game. Ooh, happy that I quit. Happy that we quit. 🙂
    xx, Feeling

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I loved this post, including the cheesy paper mache people. Your daughter may remember that Mom never did like to dance, but will also remember the time and care you spent on other things. Happily most of my cringing memories from earlier in life are fading with time. I wish the same for you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Mark. I told her to look stoic, though probably said serious. And the guy’s pipe had a cool curve to it. I didn’t take any pics of the real people…felt too shy or like it would be intrusive though they were nice as could be.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. “I do not like dancing to this day, except to look silly on purpose.”

    Exactly. My wife likes to dance. I think it’s one of the most idiotic things in the world. Particularly the kind that happens at weddings and bars. For the first couple of years of our relationship we went out frequently with friends to those bars and weddings. I refused to have anything to do with dancing except in rare circumstances … and when I did get out there and dance I did everything I could to make it as silly and ridiculous as possible. It was the only way I knew how to get through the misery of the thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The only time you will see me dance is if I am walking on burning coal (or Legos), or if someone’s firing bullets at my feet like they do in the good ol’ movies. I loathe dancing – but oddly enough I love watching amazing pros and amateurs alike do it. I just don’t feel “right”. Even when I drank I rarely danced. Not even that.
    Anyways, that first line about having kids and our childhood – yes. One of my therapists said that we get to have a second crack at childhood and he’s right in some ways. Having my boys brings up old fears and stuff and I just hope I can navigate them (and me!) through the things which brings pain or discomfort. Then again, the things I feared they don’t fear and vice-versa, so it’s growth for everyone.

    Wonderful post, K.

    Paul

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    1. There was a scene in guardians of the galaxy 2 where Drax describes seeing his wife for the first time at a war rally and she is the only one not dancing…not moving a muscle and so still so as to seem almost dead or something like that and I laughed and understood. Somebody’s got to hold up the walls, glad to hear I’m in such good company. Watch out for those Legos though, seriously.

      Liked by 1 person

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