Unlike many of my friends growing up, I didn’t have a season pass to Six Flags.
If something wasn’t in Athens, it was too far away, according to Mama.
And Mama was hyper-overprotective so, I couldn’t even go with my friends when I was invited.
I’d beg and plead for her to let me go.
“You won’t like it,” she told me simply.
How could she know what I would like when she wouldn’t let me see for myself?
I continued to beg and plead. She still said no.
My friends eventually quit asking me.
“Your Mama never lets you go with us,” was the explanation one friend was kind enough to offer.
“You take me,” I begged her.
Mama refused, citing first she didn’t know how to get there, where it was, or anything about Six Flags.
“Your mama is doing good to ride a Tilt-A-Whirl at the fair,” Granny said. “You sure don’t want her ridin’ no Scream Machine. She will be sick for days. Plus, she don’t do the sun. She’s allergic.”
My childhood was void of Six Flags until my Junior year and one of my best, dearest friends decided we had to rectify this.
The fact I had never been to Six Flags came up when she was saying how excited she was about the Georgia Cyclone.
Most people couldn’t understand how I was such an anomaly of childhood and even though she had known me for a few years, she could not fathom how I had not been to Six Flags.
“We will go Sunday!” she said, declaring we would do a double date.
I’ll admit; I was nervous. Some of those rides did look scary.
I somehow managed to stifle down the fear – I didn’t have to ride anything if I didn’t want to – but I couldn’t choke down the embarrassment.
The boy I was dating – and I use that term loosely as I don’t want to remember much if anything about that experience – conveniently left his wallet in his truck when we met my friend, Ashley, in Snellville.
He didn’t mention this fact until right as we pulled up at the gate.
I was so embarrassed. Were we going to have to turn around and go back, after we just drove what seemed like light years to get there?
Ashley and her boyfriend had to pay our way in; I am guessing she had surmised from her previous dealings with him that he was the kind of putz who would pull something like that.
Off we went to find rides.
I think anytime I try to enjoy some kind of outdoor event it has to be on the hottest day on Earth. It was sweltering.
I think the soles of my Keds melted at some point because my feet felt burned. Maybe it was because I was doing a lot of walking and I have always been a sit on my tater type of gal.
I didn’t ride most of the rides; I took one look and chickened out. I was fine with sitting – more than fine actually – while everyone else rode them though.
I also learned when you were at Six Flags you pretty much stayed there all day.
My “When are we getting there” questions morphed into “When are we leaving?”
And wouldn’t you know it? The one ride I did get brave enough to ride left me drenched.
To add insult to injury, the cheap little weasel didn’t want me to drift out of his sight, so he would hold on to the belt loop of my blue jean shorts.
I tried to pull away from him but he held tight like it was a leash and I eventually ended up slapping his hand away.
I was mortified.
It was 257 degrees; my clothes were soaking wet; I was pretty sure some kid threw up in my hair; and this greasy soon-to-be ex-mistake of mine was trying to keep me literally within arm’s length.
Was this why Mama told me I wouldn’t like Six Flags?
I tried to skip school the next day as I was recovering from the trauma. Ashley actually had to literally drag me out of bed and make me go, telling me the only way to get over someone holding my belt loops was to be amongst friends.
I never went back to Six Flags. I think I went to White Water once and I am pretty sure someone told me they were taking me to get donuts or something. Me and water parks go as well as Mama and the Tilt-A-Whirl.
The other day, I came across a news article that said the Georgia Cyclone was being taken out of commission this Sunday.
It made me think of my one foray to the theme park some 17 years ago.
“Mama, am I ever gonna go to Six Flags?” Cole asked after I announced the wooden roller coaster was being retired.
“Probably not,” I told him.
“You won’t like it. Just trust me.”