I’m so ashamed of myself.
Here’s the story: several weeks ago our younger daughter Karlyn asked me if I’d like to attend the annual Six Flags (Great Adventure) Fright Fest in Jackson, NJ with her and her brother Kim and Kim’s family. She thought it would be a special Daddy/daughter time, and so did I. So we planned a weekend at a campground not far from Great Adventure, allowing Evelyn and Kianna to come along as well (although they were not interested in the Great Adventure part).
Fright Fest sections off areas of the park designated as “fright zones.” If one dares to walk through those areas they will be confronted by ghouls and zombies who pop out of nowhere to scare them. The area’s props include gargoyles and devilish-type creatures looking down from pedestals as you walk by.
Included in the fright zones are numerous “haunted house”-type walk-throughs populated with covens full of zombie-types who suddenly appear from behind the corners, yell at you, or shake metal cans with rocks in them. I have to admit that, of all the houses we visited, I was taken by surprise – and actually jumped – only once. The rest of the time I remembered that 1) they were, after all, just people in make-up and costume, and 2) one cardinal rule was that they were not allowed to touch me. That allowed me to walk through the dark hallways with a smile on my face. Karlyn, on the other hand, was frightened with every “boo!” For that matter, she was the most entertaining part of the experience! The characters seemed to know that she would over-react, and so targeted her to scare.
Earlier in the afternoon, prior to taking in the Fright Fest event, we decided to take in some rides. I still like to ride roller coasters, even in my advanced age. So we started with the Superman ride, which positions you so you’re riding prostrate, as though you were flying like Superman. All I can say is, if Superman ever flew the pattern we did, he’d have to undergo a Breath-a-lyzer test! Either that or he would have been out on a joy-fly, flipping and twisting, flying straight up and then free-falling. The ride gave me a real shake-up.
Then we headed for the Green Lantern ride, unique in the sense that you stand up instead of sit down. And, again, with the twists and turns and, for me, anyway, a lot of head-banging. It was here that I found myself shamed, because after only the second ride, I had had enough. There was a time when I could go from one coaster to another without batting an eye, but it seems that time is catching up to me, and a little goes a long way. It took a while for my head to settle down and my tummy to stop churning.
It was also here that the lowest point of our evening occurred. Apparently the head-banging affected Kim worse than me, not that he was feeling woozy or anything, but he discovered that the mold from his hearing aid was missing. He had the rest of it in his hand, but the wire that connects to the mold in his ear was attached to nothing. Our hearts sank. Overly optimistically we scanned the area under the ride as we walked along the exit, but, of course, the chances of finding it were nothing to nil. Fortunately (if you can call it that), it was the aid for his better ear, and his other aid was still in place. So, with a rather gray cloud over our heads, we started the final phase of our visit (the walk-through haunted houses).
That’s when God’s hand became unmistakable.
As we were walking into the fright zone, Kim reached behind him at the base of his neck. He said it felt like something was caught under the neckline of his shirt and – you guessed it – it was the mold to his hearing aid that had “somehow” fallen out of his ear on the ride and under his shirt, being held in place by the lanyard strap around his neck. Come on, now – what are the chances? Suddenly our gray cloud turned into astonishment, and then (for me, anyway) gratitude. Talk about a heavy burden being lifted! We could now enjoy the rest of our evening.
Another highlight of wandering through the mazes was finding out that one of the ghouls was someone I’ve known for decades (and whom Kim also knew as a friend about his age), a fellow named Ed. He was willing to step out of character for a moment to say hello to us, which was really neat. Ed and his family have worked at Six Flags for years (he told me his mother was now working in the “Lost Parents” building).
So – adventures galore. And, in the final analysis, a fun time with family, and also with God who was undoubtedly present with us the whole time.