|Picture courtesy of Paul Drabek at Negative-G www.Negative-G.com|
. . . or why mothers eat their young.
Like grains of sand in an hour glass, these are the days of our lives.
For joy, for joy! Long before Disney World, and even long before Six Flags Over Georgia, way back in the beginning of the TV era when I was young . . . long, long ago there was only one main attraction for all the amusement ride lovers in our area and that place still stands today. That place is Lake Winnepesaukah. The place has been here for eighty-five years and it is far better to spend the day there and ride all the rides you want to, than to drive all the way to Atlanta and stand in the lines for hours waiting to ride only a few rides. I hate waiting in lines.
Lake Winnie is the place that a lot of people got their first kiss as they rode the boat chute through the Tunnel of Love. It was reputed to have snakes sleeping in the rafters which sometimes fell into the boats of the helpless victims below. That story always had to be related aloud to some young person who was taking his first ride on the boat chute. The spooky tunnel is at the beginning of the ride.
We had some good times up there. I remember one time when we were young that my cousins Randy and Debbie and I rode to Chattanooga in our great uncle Cletus' white Cadillac. He drove below the speed limit because he believed the sign that said "Keep off the median" meant to drive below the speed limit. We all argued with him that it didn't mean to drive that slow but he wouldn't listen. Old people. Sheesh!
We had a family reunion up there that day. They rented a pavillion and the table was covered with food from one end to the other. Naturally the kids all took off to ride the rides after we ate. We lined up to ride a ride that goes across the lake. Two people to a gondola allowed you to ride high above the lake and you can look down on the people below you riding paddle boats and see all around the park. It was really high. And the water down below looked really dark and uninviting.
Debbie and I were in line behind her brothers, Steve and Eddie, but we could still talk to them. As we started across the water it became obvious that they were starting to panic. Steve was afraid of the height and Eddie was afraid of falling in the water. They kept talking about jumping off because the ride turns around at the other side and rides you back across the lake before letting you off the ride. The turn around is next to electrical wires and equipment working the ride. There are signs posted all over the place with "Warning", and "Danger".
Debbie and I tried to talk them out of jumping but they were determined not to ride back across the lake. We saw them jump. They cleared the wires and hit the ground running. We were stunned. What dummies.
By the time we got off the ride security, in the amusement park, was looking for the two boys who bailed out across the lake. Debbie and I denied knowing them. The rest of us wandered off and tried to distance ourselves from the search. We all eventually got together again and found out that Steve and Eddie had been dodging security and thought they had ditched them. Whew, that was some adventure. You wouldn't believe that years later Eddie joined the Navy and Steve joined the Air Force.
I also remember Debbie and Randy and I were playing when Moma told me it was time to leave. I wanted to stay a little longer and tried to get her to let me ride back home with somebody else. She said "No" but Debbie and Randy and I decided to run away and she started chasing me. We started running around the bumper car shed and would dart in the opposite direction when we saw her coming. This went on for a while and we were laughing and having a good time until Moma tricked me and jumped out and grabbed me when we ran the wrong way.
Moma was shaking with rage, mad enough to kill me. She had me by the hair and began shaking me by the hair of the head. I was tiptoeing and trying to get away. She was furious as she got close to me and said, "I ought to whip you right here and now but I won't, I won't . . ." and then she suddenly leaned toward me and bit me hard on the cheek. She drug me off and told me I better not talk back to her. How could I? She might bite me again. Sometimes it's best to leave well enough alone so I did. It was time to go home.
She was mad because people were watching me and my cousins running away from her and not minding her. She said one old man was watching us and laughing and that really made her mad. Oh well, I guess I learned a lesson there, about minding your mother, especially if she bites.