Over a lustrum (that’s a period of five years for those who, like myself, aren’t Latin savvy) had gone by since the safety and sanctity of the House of Saw was abandoned for a vacation getaway. In addition it had also been nigh on two decades, and my wayward daughter’s belligerent departure from the nest, since a chainsaw had set foot in a park of amusement. However, with the charge of my grandkid, AKA “The Tot,” bestowed upon me and my spouse, the need for some form of “family vacation” had become somewhat of a necessity. To aid in increasing his awareness of the world around, offering social interaction and stimulating intellectual growth…also because he likes to run around a lot.

So what to do…where to go…With the little fellow’s current assumption and fear that sharks can live in literally any body of water, and due to budget restraints, the beach was out. How ’bout the mountains then? It’s closer and above sea level. Well with all that running around he likes to do, a “scenic overlook” would be a nightmare. We needed a place with a fence and lots of stuff to occupy a well-behaved, yet hyperactive, four year old with a short attention span. In the end logic dictated and decided Tweetsie Railroad would be our vacation destination. The actual deciding factor was the Tot’s above average growth rate. At four years old he clocks in at just under four feet and a solid 65 pounds. If we were to wait any longer, he would never get to experience any “kiddie rides” due to his size.

Thus plans were laid, money was saved and a three day weekend in the majestic mountains was planned…and it rained…and rained and oh wait…it stopped. Despite a torrential downpour on our parade, the initial inclement weather of the weekend did allot for a second “rain check” day at the railroad. And the Tot loved it. Just seeing the wonderment in his eyes at what the park had to offer was well worth the price of admission. The Old West environment with the cowboys, the guns and, of course, the train, the feature attraction, which was fun to ride but scared the crap out of him with the noise it made.

AMUSED TOTIt was interesting to note his ride selection and how, with just a few moments of observation he weeded out anything that went too high or too fast. Does it go in a circle I can see the circumference of? Is it shaped like an animal or vehicle I am familiar with? If the answer was yes then that was the ride for him. His one error in ride selection was the ferris wheel, which the attendant thought would be fun to run at full speed backwards. Lucky for the Tot his Pappy (AKA me) has a loud violent sounding, projective voice. Thus the rides operator had zero problem in “Stopping this damned thing and letting us off NOW!”

It was past this point that my skepticism of amusement park rides begin to fester. It was also the reason why I hadn’t been to a park in twenty plus years came to light… though admittedly it was the chair lift that did me in. WHOA! HOLD ON! Before you go making the assumption that big bad Chainsaw can’t handle a chair lift, what a wuss, allow me to elaborate. It was not that the chair lift was too fast, nor was it too high, it was simply the unreasonable fear (which I contained for Tot’s sake) that the ride would malfunction or break and we would fall, screaming like little girls, to our deaths. For the love of Jehovah the pole attached to the thing was tiny small, the cables were rusty looking and all it would take would be for one pulley to go out of sync and…Lil Red (that’s the spouse) tells me I am the harbinger of doom. She says that I have a dark dreadful perspective on things and always envision the most horrific macabre outcome to any given situation. This in effect renders me incapable of relaxation and enjoyment of simple things after all…it’s just a chair lift. Yes…it is “just a chair lift” a chair lift of DEATH!!! That harrowing near death experience aside, the vacation was a resounding success. The highlight of the trip for me was rescuing a plastic lobster named Larry from an antique store. Lil Red enjoyed exploring her geological skills with some impromptu gem mining. And best of all, my little best friend had a grand old time and passed out from fun each night, his own faux bang caps, six shooter clutched tightly in hand.

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Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya!