Roller Coaster of Memorie

November 7, 2007
Have you ever had a few good memories with a beloved family member? I have one really good memory with my grandmother, just months before she died of lung cancer. She told me she wanted to spend time with me, her first grand-daughter. As a result, she planned a weekend for us to go to Kings Dominion.
It was a hot August day as I was driving home with her. In the car, we talked about what we were going to do that weekend, planning out almost every little bit until I had to go home. She told me that she needed a bathing suit for this weekend. I suggested that she go to Peebles, my mom’s night job, and pick one out there. We walked in together, noticing my mom fixing the hanging racks.
We stayed there for about an hour until my grandmother was finished picking a bathing suit. She even bought me a new bathing suit just for the weekend. We walked to the car, and drove off in the countryside to her house. I sat with my head against the window, grinning like a madman. I was so happy that I was going to be spending this time with her. It was just me and her for two whole days.
We made it into the house and I walked to the spare room that I secretly claimed as my own. I sat my stuff on the bed and walked back out and into the kitchen to talk with my grandmother some more. We spent the rest of the night talking and laughing, doing what we did best. It got too late too soon. My grandmother shooed me to bed, telling me we had to get up early to get there on time. I happily obliged, making my way to the bedroom, changing into my night clothes, and double-checking that I had everything I needed for the next day.
The next morning, my grandmother came into my room and told me to get ready. I smiled excitedly and rushed around, putting my bathing suit on and throwing some clothes on over it. After I finished dressing and brushing my hair and teeth, I walked out into the living room bugging her to leave. It wasn’t until we were in the car driving did she ask me what I wanted to do when we got to the park. I sat silent for a while, figuring out exactly what I wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to ride our favorite ride, The Avalanche, a bobsled themed coaster. Knowing us, we would probably ride that at least 5 times, if not more. I also wanted to try riding The Anaconda, a ride the spun upside-down in several places, even though my mother wouldn’t approve. I wanted to go on at least one ride that went upside down before I left the park that day. She told me that we would ride The Avalanche and The Anaconda as many times as I wanted. I smiled to myself, knowing that we were going to ride The Avalanche quite a bit.
The line to get into the park was pretty long by the time we got there, but we made it inside in a short time. The first thing I pulled my grandmother to was the Log Flume. It’s a water-ride where you sit in a plastic log and it takes you up steep hills and get’s you all wet. It’s one of my other favorite rides. We got off of that ride and she asked me what I wanted to do next. As usual, I didn’t know (or care) what I wanted to do. I was with my grandmother and that itself made me happy. I told her I wanted to go ride The Avalanche at this point. We made it to the other side of the park in no time. Along the way we chatted and stopped to ride the swings and to ride The Scrambler. When we did make it to The Avalanche, the line was already pretty long, but we didn’t care. This was our ride, and we wanted to ride it.
Our turn came to ride the coaster. I sat in between her legs and brought the bar down over our laps. I smiled as the ride started, and screamed as it raced down the hill. Being that it wasn’t a very fast ride, I laughed more than I screamed. I could hear my grandmother behind me, laughing along. Too soon was the ride over. I looked up at her and she nodded, silently telling me that we were going to ride it again.
My grandmother decided to go against my mother’s wishes and take me on a ride that would twist and turn me in the air. She told me that she wanted to take me on one ride that went upside-down; The Anaconda. Now, me being me, I wasn’t all that excited to ride a coaster that spun upside-down. Even though I suggested I ride it earlier, I was a bit hesitant walking the walk-way to the line. Unfortunately for me, the line wasn’t that long and we were on the ride in a short time.
My grandmother had me climb in first, setting me in my seat and buckling it up for me. She pulled the bar over my head and secured it, then went to tend to herself. I looked straight ahead, my eyes big and scared. My hands were gripping on the silver handle bars so tight, my knuckles were white and my hand was starting to hurt from the pressure; the ride hadn’t even started. I looked over at my young grandmother. She smiled at me, “Everything will be fine,” she told me. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath as the ride attendant started the coaster. We jerked forward, slowly climbing the large hill. I felt my breath quicken as we got closer and closer to the top. My eyes widened and I let out a hearty scream, just as the hill turned and dipped.
We went under a tunnel type box that went under the water and came shooting back up, immediately going into a loop. I felt my butt rise off of the seat, and I screamed some more; not out of pleasure, but out of fear. I gripped the bars tighter, my nails almost tearing moon-shaped holes into my palms from squeezing so hard. I could hear my grandmother laughing next to me. Although I didn’t find any of this funny, she did.
Another loop came along, and I wasn’t expecting it. My butt raised off of the seat again as it turned several times. My screams rung in the air as we finally came to a stop. I looked over at my grandmother, who was smiling, and laughed along with her. It wasn’t as scary as I had thought it was going to be. But being my first upside-down coaster, I was bound to be scared.
After the ride we walked to the water park, ready to get wet and cool off from the hot August weather. We laughed and rode several slides together, laughing down all of them. We eventually made our way to the Wave Pool. When we reached it, the pool was packed, and it was hard to find a spot out of the heat. I left my stuff with my grandmother and ran straight into the water, instantly cooling down.
We stayed in the park for several hours more. Well, at least until we saw the dark rain clouds that threatened to spill over us. It was then we decided to leave and go home. I was starting to get hungry, so we stopped off at McDonalds. Just as we pulled into a parking spot to eat, the rain poured down, trapping us until it calmed. My grandmother never liked to drive in the pouring rain, so we waited it out, eating our food in a parking space under a maple tree.
That day was one of the last days I was able to spend any sort of alone time with her. The memories of that day are forever imprinted in my mind. Riding the rides, playing in the water, eating McDonalds; those are the little things that have me recall that day over and over again.

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