En Route

Where’s *your* sense of wonder…?

Darlin’ and I slept for most of the day.  I’d have posted a picture of us but… trust me – it wasn’t cute; we were out for the count!

I had a dream about an amusement park in Toronto, Ontario, where we used to take our children when they were small, and then I remembered a passage from Letters to Jenny (the sequel to the seven-novel Time & Unforeseen Occurrence series), where a ‘hot’ pitcher (Michael Richards) for the Blue Jays, his best friend and legendary All Star hitter, Mitch Warner, and their teammate and catcher, Will O’Conner took their pregnant wives and their children to Canada’s Wonderland.

‘Michael took two Extra Strength Tylenol before they left for Canada’s Wonderland on Wednesday.  Just the thought of all that rumpus gave him an anticipatory headache and he wondered why he had loved the place so much in his younger years. 

The kids all thought it was Heaven on Earth and their excitement reached critical mass when the Twister came into view, and they began squealing in anticipation, and writhing in their seat belts – even Charity, their two-year-old, was clapping her hands in delight.  Pulling up to parking lot #4, Michael paid the lady in the booth and asked if he could possibly be permitted to park close to the entrance gate, as his wife was pregnant and he didn’t want her to have to walk five miles before they entered the park.

“You’re Michael what’s-his-name from the Blue Jays, aren’t you?” she asked.

“Michael Richards, and guilty,” he grinned.  “Mitch Warner and Will O’Conner are in the two vans behind us, and their wives are pregnant too – very.”

“Is that right?”

“Yes, Ma’am, so if you could…”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Richards; I’m a big fan, but if you wanted a good parking spot you should have been here three hours ago.”

“Three hours?  It’s only 9.30, you don’t even open for half an hour yet!”

“I know, Sir, but people come early so they don’t have to… ahem… walk five miles.”

“I hope you have a six-day labor with every one of your kids,” Michael said, as she gave him a power junkie saccharin smile.

“Michael!” Keisha objected.  “That wasn’t called for.”

“Oh, no?  Fine!  I don’t want to hear a peep out of you during our five-mile hike to Hell,” he scowled, and groaning added, “So much for celebrity status.”  Following the pimple-faced parking attendant’s flags, he obediently, if begrudgingly, drove to the second last row on the lot with Mitch and Will following close behind him.

“Ain’t they never heard o’ the Blue Jays?”  Mitch said.  “I told ‘em we needed to get closer on account of the gals, but…”

“Didn’t work for you either, eh?”  Michael said, rolling his eyes.  “I’m going to get Keisha one of those rental wheelchairs they have.  The nannies can push the little ones in their strollers today.  You coming?”

“You betcha!”  Mitch said, and followed Michael.

“Hold up you guys!”  Will hollered, “I’m coming with you!”

Half an hour later the men returned with their wheelchairs, just in time to witness the mass exodus from the stationary cars in the parking lot.

“What say we let ‘em go first?” Mitch said.  “It ain’t as if we’re vyin’ fer a seat or somethin’.”

“You’d better give the kids their water bottles,” Helen said.  “We’ll be an hour before we get through those turnstiles.”

“An hour!” Michael Jr. and Chrissy whined in concert.

“Yes, an hour,” Michael said.  “Do you see those little black specs on the horizon over yonder?”

“Yeah, but…”

“Yeah, but nothing.  Those are people waiting in line for entrance into this theme park, and we aren’t going anywhere until they’ve all filed in.”

“Don’tcha wanna go to Canada’s Wonderland?” little Chad asked.

“No, Chad, I don’t.  I’d rather paint myself with barbeque sauce and walk naked through theAfrican Lion Safari than come to this place.  Look at them all!  I must be out of my mind!”

Mitch and Will, newcomers to this particular childhood ritual, eyed Michael suspiciously.

“How bad can it be?” Will asked.

Michael reached into his pocket, and pulling out his tube of Extra Strength Tylenol, he tapped out two pills into Mitch and Will’s outstretched palms.

“What’s this for?” Will asked.

“The pounding headache you’re going to get, if you don’t have one already.”

“How come you ain’t takin’ none?” Mitch asked.

“I took mine before we left home.  Amateurs!” Michael said, shaking his head, as the twenty-seven person troupe strode out into the already seventy-six-degree Ontario sunlight. 

Ten hours, 232 rides, sixty-eight hot dogs, thirty-four candy apples, and five diaper changes later, the kids began to whine.  They were tired and wanted to be carried, sit down, or catch a nap, and a couple wanted to throw up, and three of them ‘Couldn’t wait’ and had an accident while standing in line waiting to urinate in the obscenity they had the nerve to call a washroom.

Blue Jays and Mariners July 2009 811Little girl with pop

Blue Jays and Mariners July 2009 110The Lone Tear

Helen moaned.  “I don’t want to think about the number of fatal diseases they could catch in that place.  Next time we’re bringing along a port-a-potty.”

“Next time?” Will said.  “You mean you’d do this again?”

“Not willingly, but the children seem to like it,” she said.

“I don’t get the impression Mia’s enjoying upchucking by that bush,” he said, nodding in her direction.  “I have the baby wipes but you’re the mom,” he said, handing them to her, and rubbing his temples as the effects of the Tylenol were wearing off.

“Hey, Michael,” he whispered, “got any more of those pain pills?”

“What do you think?  How many do you want?”

“Forty,” he groaned, “but with any luck two will do the job.”

Mitch said nothing but held his hand out silently.  “I’ll getcha for this, Richards,” he promised.  “Who invented this place, Hitler?  If people was meant to be spun around like this then the Good Lord would’ve made us into spinnin’ tops.  I ain’t interested in stayin’ to see no fireworks!”

“Gentlemen,” Michael gasped, and holding his arm outstretched he said, “Read the sign, it says – Canada’s Wonderland – where’s your sense of wonder?”’

Hope you enjoyed the visit!

Love and All Good Things – Jesse.


TAUO Presentation Box halfsize

Read the first five chapters of the Time & Unforeseen Occurrence seven-novel series here – http://jesseleighbrackstone.com/first_five.pdf