Up in the Air


This past weekend went by in a blur.

Saturday, Ruby and I, accompanied by my sister-in-law and her kids, drove up to Wild Waves.  The weather became sunny and warm after the morning clouds burned off. We rode roller coasters and the Ferris Wheel. We trooped around the lake.  We swam the wave pool.  Glorious!

I just want to go on record this time and say:  I did not get lost.  Yay!

Jonathon has been facilitating this music festival and subsequent awards ceremony at Wild Waves for at least 15 years.  He assembles all the packets for each performing group, now covering 3 different venues.  Three local high schools provide the location for the competition portion of the festivals.  The judges hear everything from marching bands to orchestras, guitar ensembles and jazz choirs.  Pretty amazing, I think.  Jonathon hires each judge and has two other men who run the festivals at the other schools.  Then they all meet up at the water park in the afternoon and set up the trophies near the blue bleachers.

But back to the Ferris wheel.

My sister-in-law has a fearless two-year-old.  He wanted to ride the wheel.  Since the ride only took two at a time, that left out her older boy, Eliot.  Eliot is five.  He has adorable dimples and he gladly sat beside me on the red vinyl seat, ready for adventure.

“All set?” I asked as the attendant strapped us in with the fat and skinny metal bars.

“Yep,” he said.

The attendant, all of sixteen and sunny smiles, pushed the lever forward with her French nail-tipped hand. We headed backwards and then up.

I should mention this Ferris wheel is half-size.  It only goes up maybe 30 feet or so. But…did I mention I don’t like heights?  Yeah.

Then we stopped.  In fact, we moved and stopped so much, I wasn’t sure we’d ever complete a full rotation. I nearly forgot what day it was, it took so long. How do they keep track of who they let on and who they let off?  Tis a puzzle.

After a few more stops, we rested on the very top. We rocked back and forth, products of inertia.  Eek!

“Look, an airplane!” Eliot pointed to a low-flying plane over our heads.  The chair rocked a little more.

“Uh…please sit still,” I said, trying not to freak out.  I gripped the metal bar as if it were the last friend I had.  And who knows?  Maybe it would be. I could picture Eliot reaching out beyond my grasp and plummeting to his death.  I would be hanging onto a metal thingie and hoping I could hold on until Superman arrived.

“What’s that black thing?” Eliot asked.  He looked at the gears.  I gave a very short and simplified tutorial on wheels and pulleys.  Probably completely wrong, but it was something.

“See, this wheel is like an enormous bicycle wheel.  You know how there are metal pieces that come out from the middle?  That’s what those are.  And we’re inside the wheel.”

Eliot noticed we could look *through* the seat and see below us.  Oh, what fun!  I peeked and then thought better of it.  Gulp.

He sat quiet for a few minutes.

“Eliot, what do you want to do when you grow up?” I asked, hoping to change the subject.

“I want to be a policeman,” he said, pride in his voice.

“Oh, you’re going to protect people.  I can see you doing that. I like it,” I said.

“But not the bad guys,” he added quickly.  No misunderstandings here.

After a small eternity, the ride ended and we got off.  It was 2015. Just kidding.

Later on, I told Eliot about my fear.

“Did you know I’m afraid of heights?  And you weren’t.  You sat there and looked at things and enjoyed the view.  You’re brave,” I said. Truly, I did admire him.

Eliot’s dimpled smile shone out. He’s going to be a great policeman. Those bad guys don’t stand a chance.



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