Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Let's Ride!

I have told you several times about the rides we used to take in the country when I was a little girl. My father would drive our Buick convertible. All the kids in town who could manage to get away from their families on a Sunday afternoon would ride with us like some cartoon version of a full vehicle.

It is one of my fondest memories of childhood. So simple but it was a family outing.

While thinking of those rides the other day I started to think of some of the other memorable rides family members have taken.

My son and I had taken my four (at the time) grandchildren to a weekend flea market. We had my two oldest who were teenagers, the two youngest at the time who were in early grade school, and the oldest grandchildren's cousin who was a;so in early grade school.

What we did not know was that there was a carnival there. You should have seen the five pair of eyes light up. My son told them he would treat them to one ride if they behaved themselves while we shopped.

When we went to get ride tickets we found out that the price was $20 no matter how many rides they wanted to ride.

I do not ride those rides and my son did not want to ride either but it was still $120 that he ended up paying.

My second grandson wanted to ride a small roller coaster but I would not let him ride by himself. My oldest grandson agreed to ride with him even though he gets sick on the rides. I watched as the poor kid turned greener and greener as the ride went on. While one grandson was raving about how much fun he had the other stepped behind all the rides and threw up.

My oldest granddaughter wanted to ride some sort of ride that made the rider hang upside down for a while as it moved. No one else could go with her but I finally relented and told told her one ride only. She ran off to ride.

Her hair was extremely long. She should have tied it up but she did not. My grandson looked over that way and said he could see her. Actually what we could see was a body upside down with hair hanging down and flying all over the place. Luckily she did not get her hair caught in anything.

The two little girls wanted to ride a little girl roller coaster. The ending of the ride was a slide to get down to the people waiting for them.

My granddaughter from down the street which is what my grandchildren's cousin called herself neglected to tell us that she had to go to the bathroom.

She left a puddle on the seat of the ride. She stuck a little bit to the slide. And the poor thing had very wet pants.

I took her back into the building to clean her up and dry her off. Once she found out that I was not angry she relaxed and said she had a good time.

My children were growing up so fast. I realized that soon they would be leaving home. I decided to have one family weekend before that happened.

My oldest son was under strict instructions not to work that weekend. I did invite my niece since my daughter was the only girl. My youngest son asked my nephew to come so he would have someone his age there. My two older sons are only two years apart so they were fine.

Why I chose an amusement park I still do not understand completely. I did want the children to have a good time. The problem is that I do not ride the rides.

It was a hot weekend. I was irritated. The kids were kids and not always lovable.

Finally I told them to go have fun (in pairs) and I told them where to meet me when they were ready to go back to the motel.

The kids had a good weekend. I was happy for that. I did not enjoy myself much though.

I had my second granddaughter and grandson for the weekend. Herman's Hermits was performing at a nearby mall. It was one of those concerts held outside and the mall paid the band so it was free to the public.

We left early so we could get a good spot to watch. Apparently a lot of other people had the same idea. We were stuck in the biggest traffic am I had ever been in. By the time we got to the mall I could not even find a place to park. The concert was over for us before it started.

As we were stuck in traffic my grandson noticed a helicopter. He was talking about it and said he always wanted to ride in a helicopter.

As we found our way out of the mall parking lot he spotted a sign saying that for a small fee we could ride the helicopter. I did not have enough money with me for all three of us. He was too small to go alone. His sister was younger than he was so I could not leave her to ride with him.

My grandson told me he had enough money to pay for his ride. After much discussion we agreed we would all take a ride in the helicopter. That was when I found out that my granddaughter was afraid. She braved up and did it for her brother but she was really glad to be back on the ground.

Shortly after my husband and I moved to the big city we went with his brother and his family to Belle Isle.Belle Isle is a small island in the Detroit River. It has or had a petting zoo, an aquarium, botanical gardens, trails, bike paths, and picnic areas. It also has a stream running through it.

You can rent canoes to paddle along the stream. Of course we did.

I had never been in a canoe before. I was trying my best to help my husband as we tried to navigate the stream. I was not having much success.

Another man and woman came forward to pass us. We were holding a lot of people back I am afraid.

I lifted my paddle to switch to the other side of the canoe. Graceful person that I am I knocked the man's sunglasses right off his face. They fell into the stream and immediately sank to the bottom. He was much nicer than I could have expected.

Visiting the farm was fun for my children. My older two boys were small and Grandma and Grandpa were spoiling them as all grandparents should.

Grandpa had his tractor out. He did not farm much any more. Pretty much all he did was prepare the garden and level the driveway. Today the tractor had a dump bucket on the front.

Grandpa put the boys in the bucket and told them to sit still until he took them out. Then he started the tractor and took them for a ride down the road a piece. They still remember that.

My brother-in-law was taking my niece and my daughter to the state fair. They were sure of a good time. He let them ride all the rides and fed them as much junk as they could eat.

They would go through all the animal pens to see the farm animals. But the best part was that there was an elephant there that day. And for a price you could ride it.

It was the high point of my daughter's day. It was all she talked about when she came home.

My second son and his family took my oldest son and me to a state park for a day. We wandered around enjoying a nice day. Then my grandchildren spotted the paddle boats.

They were the kind you climb into and pedal with your feet. There were two of them available. We had leftover people who took a canoe. My oldest son was not happy. He does not like being out on the water.

We made our way out onto the lake. When we saw a small island we decided to investigate.

The island was very small. It took no time at all to see everything that was there.

We went back to the boat dock. It was a fun afternoon.

We went back to the farm but not for fun. My father-in-law had died. He led a long life. It was not always easy but it was good nonetheless.

As people do after a funeral we were sitting in the living room on the farm talking about family. A lot of us had not seen each other in a long time so we had some catching up to do.

The children were outside playing. One of them came running into the house. There was a horse wandering in the road.

Knowing that it might be hit by a car my brother-in-law went out to catch it and put it back where it belonged. He had a fairly easy time of it.

Once he determined that the horse was tame and used to riding he gave all the kids a short ride. It was a nice adventure for them to lighten the mood of the day.

My oldest granddaughter had just graduated from high school. Her parents had a big party. All her friends and teachers were invited along with their families. All of our family was also there. I love family get-togethers. The generations mingling is special.

My son had gotten out all the things that would keep the children occupied. The croquet game was set up. There was a net for volleyball or badminton. There was the trampoline. There was my grandson's basketball hoop. Targets were set up for shooting practice with the BB gun. There was a slip-and-slide for the children to get wet and be cool. The kids' favorite was the go-cart.

I was feeding Cheetos to my niece's little boy. He loved them. It kept me amused because they turned his hand and mouth yellow. Then my niece would pull out another wipe to clean him off. So I would give him another Cheeto. It was a good time.

Apparently my daughter and my brother had told their sons that in order to ride the go-cart they must ride with an adult. I did not know that. I watched the two of them get on the cart together and take off. At breakneck speed they went around the corner of the house, around the propane tank, down the driveway, and onto the road. I laughed as they did war whoops as they went.

I was still feeding Cheetos to my nephew when my brother looked at my daughter and asked where the boys were. I started to laugh because they had been gone for a while and neither parent had realized it. I told them they had gone off on the go-cart.

They were understandably upset. I just laughed at them. I told them they were probably down by the creek where my oldest grandson went fishing sometimes. All the parents grabbed their cell phones and started calling the boys. No answer.

I laughed. They were going to go look for the boys. I laughed. They decided to try calling one more time. My nephew answered his phone. I laughed.

My nephew reported that they were having a little trouble with the go-cart. I laughed. My brother asked his son where he was. I laughed. My nephew asked my grandson where they were. Neither one was sure. I laughed.

The boys were pretty sure they knew how to get back to my son's house. I laughed. My brother told them to get back right away. I laughed. They said they would. I laughed.

After another long wait my daughter and my brother decided to search for the boys. I laughed. Car keys in hand they started toward the driveway. I laughed.

My son looked up and saw the boys... pushing the go-cart. I laughed. They got to the yard and everybody converged on them. Except me. I was laughing.

It seemed that they had gone into a ditch and the go-cart would not start after that. I laughed. My son looked at his go-cart. The axle was broken. I laughed

So parents were yelling at sons to try to find out what had happened. I was laughing hysterically.

Finally the truth came out. They had been taking turns driving. One of them had tipped the go-cart into the ditch. Both of them spilled out and the go-cart would not start. They were araid to tell anybody so they had been trying to fix it. I laughed.

Parents were still yelling at sons. I had to ask the obvious question. Were they hurt. Oh, no. They were fine. I laughed.

Finally my nephew admitted that the front of his hip was scraped and he had a couple of bruises. I laughed. My grandson insisted that he was fine. I laughed. No wonder nobody takes me anywhere.

When the party was over we all went home. I was watching TV and winding down from the day when the phone rang. My daughter was calling.

My grandson had gone to his room when they got home. My daughter and my grandson's father were watching television. My grandson came downstairs and went to the kitchen. They thought he was getting a snack.

When he was going back up the stairs my daughter noticed that he was holding something so they could not see it. It was a baggie full of ice.

He had a huge lump on the back of his head. He was afraid he would be in trouble if his parents knew. This time my daughter laughed with me.


  1. Nice to relive memories. We often went for rides going over the dusty roller coaster roads, telling my father to go faster.I still do

    1. Nebraska is a bit flatter than Iowa but there were a couple of hills here and there. Those Sunday rides are one of my fondest memories.

  2. What an amazing and detailed post on the fun rides and not so fun ones at the amusement parks, Emma. The detail included in yiur recollections is always amazing and often makes me feel like I was actually there with everyone. Amusement parks are a no-go for me as well, perhaps because my parents rarely took my brother and I to any.

    1. Up and over rides make me feel like I have no control and I will fall. When I took my children to the amusement park I sat and waited for them on a bench across from the Demon Drop. I would have a heart attack before it even started to fall if I were foolish enough to get on.

  3. I never had rides as a child and when I finally got the chance with my nieces and nephew I found out rides aren't for me at all, it made me sick

    1. I am sorry. They are such fun. My mother could not enjoy rides either. It turned out that she had astigmatism that did not allow her eyes to focus properly. Her brain knew what she was supposed to be seeing and tried to compensate. But the brain could not keep up with the movement so she got sick. Glasses helped immensely.