Do you remember your first time on a bouncy castle? We see them so often today that we forget the excitement of that first bounce. I was about thirteen - far too old - when I saw one at Leisureland in Galway on a wet summers day in the late seventies. I had never seen one before, and I loved it.
We were less sophisticated back then. My father had an old projector and a silent reel from Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein. That was our birthday entertainment every year, and how we looked forward to it. Live entertainment was unheard of. Bouncy castles were something they had in America. Then Leisureland got one.
Around this time of year I get my castles ready for the summer. It is not difficult. I blow the thing up, and if it needs repair, I ship it off to an expert. If it doesn't, I turn the hose on it, spray it liberally with detergent, then myself and the kids have a water-soaked afternoon of fun. Standing in one and trying to bounce high enough to scrub the roof is still a blast.
That first time in Salthill, when I was thirteen, I did my best to do a complete somersault . Every time I failed. I landed flat on my back. This week I will be taking advantage of the fine weather for a spot of castle cleaning. And I know at some point the urge will become too strong, and I will take a quick run and try another somersault. And I will fail again. And as I lie on my back looking up at the sudsy roof, I will remember all the years of fun I have had with bouncy castles.
If you hire a bouncy castle for your child's party - or even just for an impromptu bit of fun on a hot day - you will be giving them memories for the next forty years. Not bad for a simple phone call.