Well, this time their gamble paid off. Thanks to a hurricane named Irene bashing the hell out of the East Coast the Picnic Day was almost too perfect to call it Summer, temps in the mid-60's to low 70's, a light breeze and low humidity. I don't want to call my adopted people heartless, but not once did any of them express any regret that our perfect day came at the discomfort of New Yorkers and Philadelphians. Of course, Yinzers don't actually like anyone in those two cities, so I wasn't really expecting any apologies. (They hate Cleveland and Baltimore too, but that's mostly a football thing)
So Picnic Day finally dawned, or at least we assume it did, because the Sun was well up by the time we saw it. Dave was excited to go and ride the coasters, but I think he's starting to get comfortable with the way Raine and I do things. He did still try to rush us out the door, but he didn't even blink when we had to turn around after about 5 miles to go back home and get the tickets. I was expecting some protest, or grumbling, or at least sighs and dirty looks from the backseat, but when I looked back Dude was calmly looking out the window, listening to his MP3 player, calm as a clam. I was almost disappointed, so I tempted fate and tried to determine if Dave actually knew where we were going. 'We've got to pick up something at home, okay Dude?' I asked/apologised, 'Then we're going to Kennywood.' He replied enthusiastically, 'Yeah! Ride the escalator (chairlift) to get to the park to ride the coasters!' Then he put the ear buds back in and kicked went back to looking out the window, bobbing his head in time with the music. (at least as far as I know) He wasn't oblivious to our destination, just completely unfazed that, once again, there was a forgetful hitch in our plans.
Eventually, tickets now in hand, we made it to the park. Unfortunately for David, they had just opened the top parking lot and the chairlift wasn't running yet. Actually, Pen-DOT owns and runs the chairlift so it's hard to tell why the lift wasn't running, but the state of PA roads give us grounds for speculations of incompetence. Thankfully the escalators were still operating from the second to the first level, so Dude did get to ride one of his favorite (but not the favorite) people movers to get to the Park.
line-breakers, we entered the park to our now usual routine of bathroom then Logjammer. Raine decided this year that she wanted nothing to do with the slight dowsing you might expect from David's favorite ride, so it was decided in Executive Committee (Raine) that she would take the pictures while the 2 Dudes took the plunge... literally. I'm not sure what her problem was, it was 68 degrees, after all, and only a 10 mile an hour breeze. It's not like she was likely to catch pneumonia or anything. Isn't a favorite ride worth a little hypothermia? I mean, really.
|Raise your hands!!|
AB (American Bridge) had instituted a new and subtly devious scheme to get their money's worth out of the 'free' tickets they had given to us. Normally once each of us had filled up on free burgers and dogs we'd fly to the winds, either catching another couple of rides or just bolting out the front gate for home. But this year there was a raffle to be held at the end of the dinner, and not before, with one rule... you had to be present to win. Thus forcing longer social interaction and a definite lateness of bedtimes as most of the kids wouldn't let their parents take them home without the prerequisite extra rides, funnel cakes and cheaply made crap won at great expense on the Midway.
Something was actually going on during their conversation that I didn't even notice, but was brought to my attention by Bob, one of our maintenance guys. We were talking at lunch several days later when, out of the blue, he gave me a 'Not for nothing' that included him noticing that I was 'a wonderful dad'. I gave my usual, 'I think you're off your nut' response. (And for those of you who have said this to me, it's not false modesty, I truly have no fricken clue what you're talking about.) He went on to explain that he was watching us during our talk with Maudie and he noticed that whenever David got too uncomfortable, or nervous he would lean toward me and touch my arm, or my shoulder, and that would calm him down enough to continue the conversation. He went on to say that that calming effect combined with the fact that I always looked to see if he was okay, instead of getting annoyed or ignoring him, proved beyond a doubt that I was some sort of card-carrying Super-Dad. I was flattered, I was moved.... I still thought he was nuts. Observant, but nuts.
After completely wasting our time hanging around for the raffle (Translation: we didn't win anything), we flung ourselves once again into the fray, hitting our favorite steel coaster, The Phantom's Revenge. Raine was unwilling to sit beside the Flailing Arms of Death that is my son on another two-seat ride, so she sat alone in the car behind us, giving her a greater opportunity to laugh at the antics of the two goofy Dudes she lives with. (We give her plenty of reasons for that) We even convinced her to ride with us on the Logjammer this time. I convinced her that I knew the secret of not getting wet on the ride... And hey, whaddaya know? It worked! Other than a small complaint about her butt getting wet from sitting in the boat she barely got a sprinkle from the actual ride.