Cedarpoint Promises

My boys have a pact. When the oldest is 21, he will drive the younger two to CedarPoint Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. They will ride every roller coaster in the Roller Coaster Capital of the World. And then they will come home, having completed this long awaited goal.

The younger two will pay for gas. I assume sleeping arrangements and food requirements will be worked out as we are closer to the date. We have some time before planning becomes imminent.

I had not heard of CedarPoint until several years ago, when the youngest became a roller coaster fanatic. It happened over night, when he finally convinced himself to ride Untamed, the roller coaster at a local amusement park, and the steepest one in the Northeast. Immediately after riding Untamed, the youngest boy talked roller coasters, walked roller coasters, watched roller coasters, made plans to build a roller coaster, and researched roller coasters endlessly. If only I could get him to put as much effort into a book report. And, in fact, his one fabulous book report was about his first ride on a roller coaster.

And, so, I am not shocked when, one dinner time several years ago, he brings up his hope to someday visit CedarPoint. And ride on Millennium Force, Pipescream, Raptor, Top Thrill Dragster, Wicked Twister and, well, all of the many, many roller coasters in the Roller Coaster Capital of the World. What does bewilder me is the immediate response from his brothers.

I expect sarcasm. A snide remark. Perhaps some eye rolling. I do not expect what I hear.

“Sure, Deej, I’ll take you,” says the oldest. “I’ll come, too,” says the middle.

There is a brief moment of silence. Then they go back. To not talking. To kicking under the table. To thoughts, about other, more immediate things. And also, to eating.

Over the years, the trip to CedarPoint is occasionally discussed. Not in specifics, but simply as a given. They will go to CedarPoint. They will go together. The younger two will buy the gas. The older one will drive. They will ride roller coasters.

I find such comfort in this. It is such a nice constant in a time of unknowns.

My oldest son takes an environmental science class in school. He tells me about global warming and over population and species extinction. He talks of wars and genocide and ethnic cleansing. He discusses this over dinner, during breaks from under-the-table kicking.

And like Wemberly, the mouse in the Wemberly Worried children’s book, I worry. Not just about the big world problems, learned in a high school class. I worry about the other stuff, too. College choices. Majors. Job availability. Career satisfaction. Drunken driving. Unrequited love. Inner peace. The boys are growing so fast and becoming less and less a part of me and more and more themselves, their own selves.

I like to think of them, the three of them, older, maybe wiser. One out of college, one in. One barely finishing high school. Finally, we will know who is tallest. Who has the most facial hair. Whose voice is deeper. Which wins arm wrestles. Who studies environmental science. Maybe we will know if any of them, (fingers crossed), is planning to write a book.

Who will make the call on the oldest’s twenty first birthday? Will they remember? And be ready to go? Will they plot the route? Check and recheck tire inflation? Brake reliability?

And, then, along the way, will they play music too loudly? Listen to songs of which I would never approve? Will there be kicking under the dinner table? And laughter?

I hope.

Finally, they will arrive. At CedarPoint, the Roller Coaster Capital of the World. And they will ride roller coasters. I like that.

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