The car seats six, but the operator puts us in as a group of four. We tell the clean-shaven man and the woman with the charming bouffant that we've just come from the pig races, where we learned that we may be older than the target demographic of pig races. They laugh and agree, "Yes, you probably are."
From the freeway you can see the Texas Star, read both the words "Texas" and "Star" as they curve in an all-caps circle flat against the the spokes and supports that light up in a hundred, hundred bulbs burning and blinking against the sky in their patterns of red, white, and blue as soon as the sun sets.
From the Texas Star you can see the whole city. First it's the blue tent tops of the midway, the fortress-steep sides of the Cotton Bowl breeched by altitude to show its stadium teeth. Then the gaze spills out beyond the Fair itself, over the freeway and the houses and the light industrial to the cluster of skyscrapers downtown: the dandelion head of Reunion Tower, the Omni rolling words and waves of color along its slippery slick walls, the Bank of America building's sideways stair-stack of corners with every edged traced inexplicably in a neon green line.
There's a sign on the loading platform that says not to rock the car. I begin to wonder if you even can, so light and stable and floating we seem to be, as the view keeps changing but my stomach never registers the rise or fall of attaining 212 feet and relinquishing it again. The 44 gondolas are strung along the wheel in runs of color, and we occupy car 23, right next to the one golden car that no one sits in, a rest after so a litany of whole notes. The couple asks if we'd like our picture taken, and while I know I will remember all this, we still say yes, and so with sky still blue and blank behind us, she squares the lens. "Say Pig Races," she says, and we do, and the flash blinks one more light at the top of the world.