Saturday, October 04, 2008

Vietnam Memorial and Carowinds

My son had couple of tickets for Carowinds park Saturday and he asked me to go with him. What he was wanting to see the most was a band called Skillet and another called Casting Crowns. So. we went. We had a great time at the park from two o' clock to close to eleven. At night the park changed over to spooktacular with all kinds of creepy stuff and ton's and ton's of man made fog. We had tried to ride a couple particular of rides but the lines were so long we gave up on them. The way the bands were going we would have missed the music groups he wanted to see and hear had we stayed in those ride lines. One thing he did want to do was ride a roller coaster because he never has. The lines for the two coasters we had tried for were over an hour and a half long. One lady we spoke with told us her son and his friend waited that long in the line and then they timed the ride ... it was over in a couple of minutes. So we passed on those rides and weren't going to do the coaster thing but I saw how disappointed, or aggravated, my son was so I took another look at the map. Over in the back of the park was the biggest old style coaster in the park. So I turned to him and said lets check it out. I decided that we were going to wait in the line as long as it took. I also told him "well, if your going to ride a coaster no since starting small. Let's just go all out and ride the biggest derned one here." So we went up to Thunder Road and the line was short, real short. There was only a three cycle wait on our side and although he was nervous and maybe having second thoughts, well, we didn't wait long enough for him to back out. When we hit that first hill and began the climb up I looked over the side and said "Oh crap! I wonder how long those bolts have been broken." I know what your all thinking. But it was only to help with his excitement of the whole thing. He figured out that I was messing with him and said ' Dad! Don't say that." When we cranked it on down that first hill I looked over at him and couldn't help but start laughing at the terrified look on his face. It was classic. I laughed my ass off the rest of the ride each time I looked over st him. When the ride was over he had the biggest grin on his face and told me his hands where tingling and numb. He'd held on so tight to the bar with a death grip that he was numb. He remarked at how glad he was he hadn't eaten before the ride too. He wanted to ride it after dark when the concerts were over but by then he was just to tired and wanted to go home. He zonked out on me in the truck on the way home.
"Let's go all out and ride the biggest thing in the park. If your going to do this thing let's just go for it. It's not much different then being in a top fuel dragster." I told him.
"I wouldn't know about that Dad. I've never been in a top fuel dragster."
(Hm mm, Really now. Imagine that, me neither.)
I Had a blast with him the whole day. And what a day it was.

On our way to the Carowinds Park I wanted to stop at the rest stop on the I-85 between Greensboro and Charlotte that has the Vietnam memorial. We arrived and took the walk down the brick lined walkway, down the steps and into the memorial. Out of the 250,000 sent to war - 1619 North Carolinian's were killed and their names are all on the brick wall. Around the perimeter are yellow ribbons on trees and crosses in the ground marking names of veterans who have died in more recent times. I was almost overwhelmed when seeing all the names up there of men who were cut down in the beginnings of life. The memorial is very nicely done and laid out. Being down in a bottom area surrounded by the man made hills makes for a peaceful quiet spot to reflect. Another man came down to the memorial whilst we were there and he kept to himself as did we. It's just ... a private thing, I feel, when your there and a place to respect another visitors space.
I want to do more. Something. I'm not sure what exactly. Maybe a run and, dare I say it, a prayer service at that memorial. Perhaps a reading of every name on that wall out loud. How many years has it been since those names were called out and permeate the air?
Maybe, even perhaps, I'm just a goof who dreams to much of wanting to do something meaningful.

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