Saturday, July 5, 2008

Roll me over

I was sitting in the kitchen still feeling proud of myself about the camping, and thinking about what we should do today, when the phone rang. It was my sister Mary Beth. She said that her husband Mark was taking the day off and had just decided to take the kids to Cedar Point. Did we want to come too? Although we were tired and the house was a mess, I couldn't think of a reason not to do this so we got ourselves ready and went to their house, and then got in their truck and headed to South to Sandusky.

I used to go to Cedar Point regularly as a teenager, and I have many memories of the place, but have not been there for years. I fondly remember being with friends, going to gift shops and shows, eating that tasty greasy park food, and oh yeah, there were roller coasters too. My first one ever was the Blue Streak, and remember waiting for hours to go on the Gemini just after it opened. I believe they have added a few more since then. OK, a LOT more, making this the number one roller coaster park IN THE WORLD. But I no longer enjoy these kinds of rides like I once did, I'm older now, and the thrill of fear no longer holds an appeal for me, now that I know the sinking feeling of real fear, such as watching my child on skates jump recklessly over a ramp into the air, hearing the phone ring late into the night, or sudden braking on the freeway. Those types of moments kind of take the fun out of feeling terrified just for the thrill of it.

As we were rolling along on the highway, Mark pointed out to me the hospital where they took him after they had to pry him out of his sprint car when he crashed it on a nearby track, and I realized that we weren't doing this for the gift shops or the junk food. I was headed into an amusement park with a former RACE CAR DRIVER who needed to fulfill his need for speed and had decided that the kids were finally tall enough to go along for the ride!

When we got to the park Mark headed directly to the Blue Streak, and before anyone could question it we were sailing over the hills above our seats, and I was showing Ramona how to scream real loud to try to make it fun. Before we could even catch our breath we were following Mark into an indoor roller coaster where you walk though darkened tunnels of black light before getting into the cart. Somewhere along the way Cale and Ramona decided that they were having no more of this and pleaded to be let out the exit door. Mark looked frustrated so I took them out of there, and looked back to see Tim and Jeff holding on tight as they zipped out of sight.

Somehow, out of these four kids not a one of them is a thrill seeker. So there was some reluctance, especially from Mark's own children, to try any more of the bigger coasters. Tim and Jeff were a little more willing, but would rather ride one coaster over and over again than try all the different ones. I can remember being like that, I would try the ones with hills but drew the line about going upside down. We eventually worked out a system where Mark would run off and go on the super-scary ones while I took the kids on the tamer stuff. When we got to the "Corkscrew" Mark said it was his first roller coaster ever and we just had to do it. But when Cale and Ramona balked I somehow found myself climbing in with Tim and Jeff. Even though I'd rather not be doing this at all, and have a lifelong policy of not going upside down, there I was screaming and twirling through the air. It was because someone needed me to sit next to them, and the one thing I ever needed to get me past my fear of this was a good enough reason to do it. Reason found.

In the end, each one of us learned that if you just go ahead and do that thing you're afraid of, even if you don't even like it while it's happening, you get this great feeling afterwards of being just a little bit braver than you were before. And then you want to do it again. Kind of like camping.


Anonymous said...

When were you there, Mindy? We went on Thursday. I still enjoy the "fear" aspect (although I haven't conquered my fear of Top Thrill Dragster, yet), what was disappointing to me what the way my older body reacts!!

Amy M.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for keeping Ramona company during the day on various park benches while her dad fulfilled his need for speed. I think that starting off on the Blue Streak was a bit much for her. Mark thinks everyone enjoys those rides as much as he does. Your a good Aunt! Mary Beth

Nancy USA said...

I also am really enjoying your summer adventures and your challenges to yourself! How very cool!

Our son would not go on rides for quite some time. Back when the Hi-Mid was starting production at Oshawa, I brought him, a nephew, and an older niece with me on an Easter Week "visit". They enjoyed the hotel while I went to the plant.

On the way back we stopped at whatever that amusement park was up in Toronto. My niece and nephew went on all the rides, but Jules would not go on anything wild. So, I had to stand around with him.

The following year I finally got him to try the Corkscrew at Cedar Point, and well, a thrill seeker was born! Within a couple of years we had to even get him an Annual Pass and we "camped" (with our RV) right at the park many times over the next few years.

Heather Leigh said...

I Love Love LOVE roller coast, and absolutely NOTHING beats Cedar Point, America's Roller Coast! Thinking about taking the kids in August. We took a year off last year and I'm just itching to get back there.

Since Jordyn is a tall kid, she was tall enough to ride all of the rides except for 4 of them when she "graduated" from kindergarten. And I took her on all of the rides she was tall enough for...starting with the MILLENIUM FORCE! I told her that once she conquered that ride the rest would be a piece of cake. She wanted to chicken out, but we "made" her do it and she LOVES roller coasters.

Just like my dade "made" me ride the Gemini when I was a kid and he wouldn't let me bury my head in my lap, either, he held my head up so I could see what was going on.

Ahhh, thanks for sparking those memories.

Aunt Kathy said...

I hate being jerked around on rides, but I love a double ferris wheel! How cool to be so high!