Enjoy the ride

Even many of those who somehow support the opinion by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to impose his peculiar definition of marriage on the nation quietly agree. Stanford University, his alma mater, should give Kennedy a tuition refund.

Kennedy’s opinion was written with all the legal, constitutional and social depth of a lumpkin commentary by an overwrought sophomore in a third-rate college newspaper. The decision wasn’t reasoned; it was wanted.

A priest I know would tell his students, “Boys, I want to hear what you think, not what you feel.” Somebody should have said that to Kennedy.

But enough of that for now. We need a summer hiatus to regain our senses. Let me introduce you to a carousel.

I have relocated to Hoosier land after 12 years in Pennsylvania. Indiana welcomed me back with weeks of sloppy and soupy rainy days and nights. Rivers, fields and homes flooded; crops were lost just as they were getting started.

This particular wet and miserable morning, I was at the local mall accompanying the spouse on a field trip. While she was in a store being useful, I wandered over to the food court that surrounded an ice rink the last time we were Hoosiers.

And there it was. The rink had been replaced by a two-story carousel. It’s a thing of beauty, rising above the sub shop, the pizza place, the burger joint and other sundry American culinary delicacies.

Horses and rabbits, triceratops and tigers — the carousel has everything. And in the middle, a staircase that climbs to the upper level of the swirling menagerie.

I sat at an empty table, nursing coffee, taking it all in. It was too early for lunch at the food court, so I was by myself. I felt like an archaeologist in the 19th century about to explore the great pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Instead, I was watching while the lady who ran the carousel give a little spritz of cleaning fluid and a rub down to her mechanical charges.

Two young women came by with a little boy. He was in a specially modified walker. His legs were braced and he had that constant herky-jerky motion with his arms, shoulders and back. His head rolled. They were taking him to see the carousel. He saw it. His smile was beatific.

After a few minutes, they were joined by a third young woman, the boy’s mother. She lifted him from the walker. With determined effort on his part, he was up and onto the carousel. She lifted him on a horse and held him tight. They were the only customers.

The lady pressed the button, a bell trilled, the carousel began to turn, and the horse went up and down, up and down. A two-story carousel was performing its dance for a lone mother and her beautiful boy. The lady who ran the carousel smiled. Maybe she was realizing again that she has the greatest job in the world.

The ride ended as all rides eventually end. The young mother eased her son down and helped him back to his walker. She hugged him close again; and he blessed her back with that smile. It was a poem of love.

The patriarch in M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Village” — released in 2004, the same year the mall’s carousel was built — explains, “The world moves for love. It kneels before it in awe.”

There is time enough to review the erosion of marriage and family exacerbated in late June. Society will be paying the piper for a long time over that. But a carousel with a mother and child can make you forget all that for a bit.

In the gloom of a rainy Hoosier morning, unconditional love reflecting Divine love is there to see. Kneel before it in awe.

Robert P. Lockwood writes from Indiana.