2008.01.16 Home-based Cedar Point

Written by David Green.

It was a busy weekend, so here’s a tale from 10 years ago.


By DAVID GREEN

“Pick me up, Dad!”

I’ve heard that request dozens of times over the last dozen years, but I don’t hear it so much anymore. At 15, Ben doesn’t ask to leave the ground anymore, at least not in my arms. Ridiculous. He’s as big as I am. Of course I still do lift him up every now and then, but it’s more of a rough-house maneuver as I try to heft his weight.

Rosanna, catching up to Ben at age 11, doesn’t make the request anymore either, but she gets an occasional lift anyway. Maddy, 9, still wants to go up. Her style isn’t so much to ask with her voice, but rather to stand there in front of me with her arms out. The message is obvious.

I remember when both the girls would get me at the same time when I came home from work. One on each hip or one on the front and one on the back. It was probably the beginning of the end, when my pick-up abilities were slowly debilitated.

Ben was the luckiest of the three kids as far as pick-me-ups are concerned. He had his father at his youngest, when it was nothing to hoist a kid onto the shoulders and walk around for extended periods. Ben would start in front, climb around to the back, then work his way up to the neck. All of this with only minor damage done to the carrier down below.

Maddy wants that ride too, but her dad usually ends up with a sore neck. The back ride is fine for a while, but the shoulder ride—now that’s a rare treat.

Ah, the shoulders. It’s the king of rides. I should submit to hypnotism to really bring back the sensation, but there’s still some memory there. I can remember part of the thrill even after four decades.

I‘m standing in front of my father with my back toward him. He bends over, puts his hands under my arms and—whoosh!—I’m lifted into the air, up over his head and placed onto the shoulders.

Whoa! It’s so high. I‘m almost up to the ceiling. I grab to hold on, and my hands slap on to the nearest holding place—right across his eyes. I try another hold but now I’m choking him.

OK, we’re settled and it’s time to move. This must be like riding an elephant or a camel. Perched high, dipping back and forth with every step. First one wall, then another, rushes in close with every footfall. Everything moves so fast when you’re perched at the top. Then—Bang! Ouch! You’ve got to dip for the doorways.

Now he’s twirling around a little and the room is rushing by. There’s no control. What looks normal on foot is completely different from five feet up in the air. The cabinets whoosh by quicker. The window is a flash of light with every spin. It’s frightening and it’s wonderful.

But all of this is just a warm-up. Only the preliminaries for what’s to come.

He’s walking across the room, everything is fine, I start to relax, but now he’s stumbling! He’s going to fall and I’m going to crash to the floor. I scream and tighten my grip and I’m choking him again.

He recovers in time and everything’s all right. He probably stepped on a toy. But there he goes again, tripping and threatening to fall. We’re sure to crash, but I soon see it’s all part of his act. Over and over he stumbles and dips toward the floor.

And so it went, a journey around the house to match any carnival ride, all while perched on my father’s shoulders.

I’ve got to go find Maddy. She’s growing tall but she’s skinny. I can still handle it. That kid is going for a ride.

  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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