So I am on ‘staycation’ this week. No work, just sleeping in and hanging out by the pool with my girl Holland and my sista who also took some time off. We also decided to hit our City Zoo and local Amusement Park during the week since we had the time.
I am sorry to admit that I had not visited our zoo for several years, okay many years. In the past, and I mean like 10 plus years ago, if memory serves, the zoo was not a pleasant experience. Very smelly, no shade, and some very sad animals in cages that all looked like they desperately needed a drink, I know I did. Our zoo was also colorless, many varying shades of tan.
However, my daughter and my sista, who teaches elementary school, make the trip to the zoo pretty much annually. They were both very excited to shuttle me around the ‘new zoo’ so I could see how beautiful it is now.
So off we went. We parked and the first thing that met me right at the gates was the smell of manure. Deja vu. Yeah, I been to this party before. Well what did you expect lady? It’s a zoo for crying out loud. Everybody poops, get your nose out of the air and carry on already. Through the gates we went only to find the ‘African Savannah’, a sprawling geography of land within the zoo with plants and water holes indigenous to Africa serving as home to the animals that live there, together. Giraffes roaming around while zebras drank from the water and gazelles ran by. It was beautiful. We saw the Asian Highlands, home to the big cats with their habitats separated only by nearly invisible fencing hidden in the foliage. Each habitat was preceded by beautiful sculptures of the animals done by local artists and ‘eco-explorers’ ready to answer your questions and give you information about the animals. It was a great day. There was just one moment where I got the dry heaves entering the reptile house, and had to gird my loins. I am calling it a win. Well done Zoo.
On to the Amusement Park. Our local park is called Lagoon and it opened in 1886, I kid you not. This year they are selling T-shirts that say Lagoon ’86 on them. Here is another fun fact. Why “Lagoon” you ask? The original creator of the park was named L.A. Goon. Once again, I kid you not. I always thought that was creepy, and frankly, Lagoon has always had a little creep factor for me and my sista that we can’t quite put our finger on. We fondly call it ‘Galoon’ among our own. It runs along the same vein of being afraid of clowns, like that.
Anyhoo, my son Zach got the day off so the four of us headed out for Galoon. The tradition is that we ride the Terror Ride first. The quintessential fun-supposed-to be scary carnie ride with the Wolf-man scene, the Dracula scene, Frankenstein etc. My son and I rode together and as we all laughed getting off he said to my daughter, “Mom sounded just like CC in there!” CC would be his grandma, my mother. Well, fabulous. I just stood there as they headed for the roller coaster. My sista was laughing hysterically and I just looked at her and said “we are getting fudge later.” She said “for sure” and we walked after them.
The new roller coaster at our park this year is called ‘The Cannibal’. Clever. I guess they call it that because the big drop looks like a tongue..like a big letter ‘P’…and it’s red. You get in the car and go straight up in an elevator. Then a big garage-like door opens and you move straight out the door and then…nothing. The track literally disappears because it curves completely underneath itself and then straight back and down. My son was very excited to ride this. It is extremely high and fast, we watched it run several times as we waited in line. The scary factor has been made bigger than usual because the opening of the ride has been delayed due to safety concerns for a month. My daughter about had a nervous breakdown the night before we went because she thought her brother was going to make her ride it. To be honest I about had a nervous breakdown in line watching the damn thing because I agreed to ride it.
Okay, let me come real clean here. I am a dizzy wizzy. Not really a scaredy cat per se, but a dizzy wizzy. I get sick on things that go round and round. I have been a dizzy wizzy since I was little. I once was twirling in our yard with my sista when were very young and got dizzy and walked right into our light post and about knocked myself out. At Galoon, on our church Galoon Day when I was about 11, in the Fun House, which is not there anymore because it was an accident and a lawsuit waiting to happen, I was on a “ride” that was really just a big wooden disc that you sat on and pushed yourself back against the people around you as hard as you could while they spun the disc around faster and faster and you tried to stay on despite the centrifugal force until every one spun off. Unfortunately, I vomited right in the middle of a crowd of kids on this thing and my barf spun off everywhere along with a zillion pre-teens and they had to shut down the ride. My mom was so mad.
Anyhoo, the older I get the less it takes for this dizzy wizzy to get the clammy sweats and the jelly legs, yet here I am ready to get on the Cannibal. Smart chick. So we are going up the elevator thing and I am sitting next to my sista on my right and an 8 year old boy I do not know on my left. Suddenly the door opens and for a split second I think I can see so far I spy the waving cowboy in Wendover, and then we are heading straight out and over the edge and I hear my sista say “This was a mistake”. I lean over and say to my 8 year old co-rider, “Yes, this was a mistake” as sweat trickles down my back…and then I am literally standing up in the car because it is completely upside down and someone is screaming and it is me.
Then…it is over. The heavy thing keeping me in my seat lifts off of my shoulders and over my head. I am supposed to stand up but my legs are like jello when I try to stand. I am sweating cold and clammy sweat and having a hot flash at the same time. I am slush. My son is trying to pull me onto the platform and I am trying to get myself out and off of this wretched ride. I look up and see my sista just outside the exit with both hands on the garbage can and breathing hard, she is the color of the zoo…kind of a light beige…all over. I pick my way over to her with my Novocain legs and she says “time for that fudge” and I say “yes ma’am”.
It takes a little bit for the both of us to get our bearings, but we do. We carry on like the old broads we are, making our way through the Rattle Snake Rapids (wet pants) and the Log Flume, corn on a stick and frozen lemonades and steering clear of the Tilt-a-Hurl and the Flying Aces. When we get to the Pioneer Village we head straight for the candy shoppe to get our fudge, only to find they don’t have it any more. But all is not lost, there are hot, soft pretzels and all is right with the world. It’s closing time, almost 11pm and time to head for home. Goodnight Galoon! Good times, even without the fudge.