My son Christopher really loves him some carousels.
They’ve got one at the Magic Kingdom, and another at Legoland, and we have to ride either one pretty much every time we walk by because he just seems to love going up and down, and spinning around in a circle, and even petting the horse before the bell goes off to get us started! As a parent, it’s just really fun to watch his reactions as we ride together…
Tonight I took him on the carousel over at Disney Springs and in between watching his sheer joy atop his mighty steed, I also caught myself looking out at all of the people watching us ride as we went round and round and given what kind of a week it’s been, I couldn’t help but notice how diverse the crowd was – we’d pass black families and white families and Hispanic families and Asian families, round and round – and in a way, it was kind of beautiful.
One of the big things that I’ve always loved from the start when I moved from Northern Michigan down to Florida was how much more diverse the city of Tampa seemed to be … it felt somehow comforting in a way to be surrounded by all of these random strangers that stemmed from different walks of life after growing up in a town that was 97% identical to the point where often times those who were different stood out in a not so pleasantly accepted way.
Looking back, I think one of the things that always really bothered me about my hometown was how nonchalantly marginalizing people could be about those who were different from themselves without really knowing anything about them.
On that carousel tonight as Christopher joyfully rode up and down, round and round, we were surrounded by kids and their families of all sorts of ethnicities who were there to have a good time just like we were. There was nothing to be feared about these people who watched happily as we rode our colorfully-decorated horses in circles, listening to Christmas songs in the air until the bell finally rang to end our ride so that the next group could have a turn.
When the bell did ring, we all went our separate ways without knowing a single thing about each other … except that we all seemed to enjoy riding the carousel.
And maybe just sharing that quick minute and a half of joy going round and round together is enough.