My daughter’s high school graduation ceremony was more than a month ago, but her graduation party this weekend felt much more like the door closing on this chapter.
Earlier in the week, K and one of her friends had spent several hours selecting pictures and putting them on poster boards to display at the party. This picture in particular – which I had actually forgotten about – really jumped out at me:
She’s holding a fuzzy caterpillar. Something about her expression and posture and the sunlight just come together in a way that somehow both reflects the moment the picture was taken and strikes chords of her personality that still ring true today.
Wednesday, August 7, I took the day off for a last-minute end-of-summer trip to Cedar Point with Kelsey and her friend Joan. Above is the new Gatekeeper coaster over the park’s front entrance, shortly after we arrived at 11 a.m.
We’d driven through some hard rain on the way, but it had stopped by the time we arrived. The girls went on MaxAir (not for me, thanks: my tolerance for too much multidirectional motion – particularly hardcore spinning – has, sadly, lessened significantly over the past few years), while I went for the Wicked Twister coaster nearby.
Then we got in the line for Raptor – the queue sign advertised more than an hour’s wait, but we figured we were there, and the day would be full of waiting, so we got in line. About 20 minutes later, the rain returned and mostly shut down the park.
We decided to keep our spirits up and embrace the absurdity of enjoying the park while getting soaked, so we hit the Cedar Downs ride – Joan had never been on it, and being under cover, its operation was unaffected.
Through the no-sign-of-letting-up rain, we walked to the Matterhorn and waited in the open-air queue, getting wetter by the moment before our brief ride, laughing the whole time.
Next up? The Dodgem: Kelsey had never driven a bumper car. And we had a blast.
So now, it was nearing 1 p.m., and – this:
Blue skies. It was sunny and warm the entire rest of the day, and the rain had kept or driven away most of the crowds. We waited less than an hour for the most popular coasters – Top Thrill Dragster and Millennium Force – and walked on the brand-new Gatekeeper twice at the end of the night.
I love that Cedar Point has kept so much of the look and feel of its rides’ original eras, like the late-’70s Gemini:
I’ve been going to Cedar Point since I was excited just to ride those little cars that sit on a platform and circle endlessly beneath striped domes and colored light bulbs. We lived far enough away, though, that visits were once a year, at most – maybe twice during my high school and college years – so they were always special. I have summer memories there from every era of my life, with different friends and family and even solo, in sun and rain.
Dusk, when the lights start flickering on the midway and the air starts to cool, they all seem to flood back every time.
Some snapshots from the Uniontown Lions Festival.