Grandmommy Rides the Pirate Ship

We went to the Appalachain Fair yesterday with the kids, and again tonight with the kids and Mom and Dad. And, the real fun didn’t happen until Mom and Dad joined us! I was able to leave the office a little early both days and so we were inside the fair gates by 4:30-5:00 p.m. each day and enjoyed our time without lines and crowds.

While in the car on the way over this afternoon, Sarah Grace said she wanted to ride the Pirate Ship. Unfortunately, the Pirate Ship was not operating yesterday or last night and she was extremely disappointed because she has wanted to ride it every year and every year we say to her “Maybe next year when you are taller.” Well, this year she is tall enough…actually more than tall enough…..and then the ride wasn’t operating due to an oil change in its gears. She was tearful but we encouraged her that we would probably get to come back once more this week.

And, so as we drove to the fair this afternoon she was chattering on about riding the Pirate Ship. Noah chimed in “Oh yeah, it’s awesome!” Then, Mom chimed in about riding it with us. ***Okay, important fact here: Mom is afraid of heights.****

I said quizzically, “Um, you want to ride the Pirate Ship?”

Mom:  “Sure, it’s just a swing. That will be fun.”

Me: “The Pirate Ship?? Are you SURE?”

Mom: “Sure, that’s no big deal. It will be fun.”

Kids: “Yea, Grandmommy!”

We bought our admission tickets and walked first thing to the Pirate Ship. It was sitting still, waiting on riders. And, as it turned out we had the entire ship to ourselves for the ride since it was not crowded yet. We sat close to the end of the ship (and therefore in the seats with the steepest incline when it began swinging). Mom happily walked up and climbed in, smiling all the while and chatting with the kids…won’t this be fun?, etc. We sat in one row…Mom, Noah, Sarah Grace, and I. I thought perhaps I was mistaken about her fears, but I believed she fully knew what she was doing. Au contraire! And, this is where the fun really began!

The ship gained momentum and height. As we swung up and crested–you know, at the point where your stomach rises to your throat —Mom began screaming. “Oh!! Oh!!!! You are trying to kill me! Let me off this thing! I’m going to have a heart attack! Ohhhhhh!!!!” and other various similar statements with each successive and larger swing. And, the more we laughed the more she screamed in fear. Panic was evident in her voice and Joel and Dad and Samuel were tiny specks standing below at the entrance gate watching Mom panic. Noah and Sarah Grace were laughing with glee at the ride, at the joy of being on the ride for the first time in Sarah Grace’s case, and laughing at Grandmommy being so funny. But, Grandmommy wasn’t being funny, she was being genuinely terrified. She was white knuckling the safety bar while Noah, Sarah Grace and I boldly held our hands up in the air and waved to the fairgoers below.

Now, I had flashback to when she last screamed with fright in public….the day she almost drowned in the Ogle’s wave pool and I almost died of embarrassment. I was about 13 then and the lifeguard had to jump in and save her. Her screams were muffled that day only by water as the waves went over her head. But, now I am 43 and I wasn’t embarrassed at all. I couldn’t repress my giggles even though she was so scared. We’re on the Pirate Ship and no one can save her or us from it until it comes to an end and all I can do is laugh….a LOT, and the general noise of the fairgrounds and the ride drowned out her screams to everyone but us on the ride with her. I don’t think she saw the humor in it like we did.

Once off the ride, Mom huffed a little but regained her good humor. Oddly, we walked straight from the Pirate Ship to the flying swings and Mom rode those with no problem at all. I rode them and found myself quite scared unless I kept my eyes closed. Go figure.

We spent the rest of the night seeing the sights, eating junk food and watching the Army’s Golden Knight parachute demonstration team. It was a fun family night, even if Mom briefly didn’t think so. 🙂

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