My childhood is filled with many happy memories. There are things that I haven’t thought about in years that I am now reminded of because I am raising my own family. A song on the radio will take me back. A photograph will remind me of something my aunt used to do. A funny story one of my cousins tells sends us into hysterics about the silly things we used to do as kids.
This week’s questions focuses on those memories. It asks:
“What is a treasured childhood memory of yours?”
Immediately I started thinking of what we used to do together as a family. We never really did any big trips in the later years of my childhood. I remember multiple camping trips (those were a cheap summer staple back in the day). I remember road trips that took nearly eight hours sometimes with my family to my aunt and uncles house to celebrate holidays. I can recall the one fancy cruise we took as a family while I was in the midst of my first year of university. I remember the family dogs we used to have, and how they would splash in the creek as we climbed from rock to rock.
Then I remember something amazing that I ALWAYS loved.
I was never into drugs. I never got into drinking. I don’t understand the artificial euphoria or the rush that comes with consuming those things. What I do know is the natural high of adrenaline, and the power, the excitement, the anticipation of a thrill.
One of my favourite memories is sitting at the front of a rollercoaster car. I was probably about ten years old. My father sat next to me. We were sitting at the front of the cars for the Royal Canadian Mine Buster, a large wooden rollercoaster that resides in Toronto’s theme park Canada’s Wonderland. We were climbing the massive hill, the chains were clanking and groaning as it dragged the train of rollercoaster cars up to the top. We could survey the entire park. The people looked like ants. As we grew closer and closer, the view grew larger and larger. We could see the Toronto skyline. We could see the cars that were traveling down the highway. All that was holding us in was this little seatbelt and a lap bar. I gripped it tightly as the first car reached the top.
It took a minute for the remainder of the cars to join us. Suddenly the track took a little dip and we were turned ninety degrees to face the first descent. I looked over at my dad, his face twisted in excitement and his hands slowly raising in the air as our car tipped over the edge.
WHOOSH. The thrill. The joy. The excitement of being weightless for those few seconds. The screams and laughter behind us. The cars jerked along the track and sent us flying up the second hill where we once again were given a view of the park. People below watched us as the train cars dove down the second hill, the thrill and joy captured on all of our faces.
The wooden rollercoasters are rough on our bodies. They shake you and jostle you and make you wish you hadn’t taken the ride near the end. But then it ends. And you want to do it all over again.
Those moments I will always cherish with my dad. As much as I love the other rollercoasters, the steel rollercoasters, I’ll always ride that one and think of him.