We took the Cabbage to Worlds of Fun on Tuesday. I took the day off so we could go on a weekday in hopes of missing a big crowd. It rained until about eleven that morning which helped to thin out the crowds and keep the temperatures at a reasonable level. Since the Cabbage turned out to not be tall enough to ride some of the big roller coasters, I ended up having to ride those by myself. I guess the last really major roller coaster I rode was probably the Titan at Six Flags in Ft. Worth. At the time, the Titan was the tallest roller coaster in the US with a two hundred and fifty five foot drop. The ride up that first hill was slow and torturous and somewhere in the middle of that pull to the top, you seriously consider just getting out of the car. Just when you think you can't take another second, you're at the top and then plummeting down towards the earth and you're screaming your head off. Because it's so dang thrilling.
I had forgotten how much I loved every minute of the whole roller coaster experience. As soon as we walked into the park, I looked and Michael and asked if it would be OK if I ran over and jumped in line for the Patriot while the Cabbage rode the carousel. I knew that if I went first thing, the line would be minimal and I could catch up with them in Planet Snoopy where all the kid rides are. The Patriot is one of those coasters where the track runs over head so your feet just dangle over the ground. I sat in a row with a mother and her two daughters and the mom and I had a brief conversation before the ride started. I asked if she'd ridden this coaster before. She replied that she had and that it was her favorite coaster and then we were off zooming down hills and flipping through loops. The wind made my eyes water and tears leaked out the corners as I laughed and screamed. As the ride slowed down to end, someone near the back let out a loud "WOOP!" and then we all cheered.
Riding some of those coasters with strangers made me realize something. Each time I shared a car or row of seats with these people I didn't know, we made a connection. We laughed and joked about who was going to throw up or that bolt up there looked secure. We screamed together through every dig and flip. We cheered together at the end of the ride because it had been such an enjoyable thrill. The roller coaster of life is a phrase we have all heard. Over the course of our life time we will experience great highs and great lows. We will encounter twists and turns and loops, but this doesn't happen to one person alone. Yes, you have your friends and family. That's a given, but that person sitting across from you on the buss or standing next to you at the cross walk is also on that great ride. I am thankful for this reminder and I am thankful for the kindness and generosity that can come from a complete stranger who also understands that we are all on the same roller coaster.
I hope everyone has a safe and pleasant holiday weekend, full of fireworks. Here's to a super Thankful Friday.