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The Buccaneer

Here's another story from my Aunt Terry!

As far back as I can remember, I've always loved going to amusement parks.

It didn't matter which one, how big or how well-known it was. It could be Disneyland in California or the small local ones that set up in shopping mall parking lots.

There's just something about the noise and lights and the excitement that I've always loved. But the thing I've always enjoyed the most, were the rides.

Even now, I could spend all day jumping from roller coasters to tilt-a-whirls and back again. I guess that part of me never grew up and the thrill never got old.

But not Carol.

Carol hated amusement parks. She hated the noise, hated the flashing lights, hated the crowds. But most of all, she hated the rides.

Even as a kid!

Whoever heard of a kid that hates amusement parks?

But Carol was not a fan.

The truth was, she was scared of the rides.

Something she fully admitted.

Anyway, years ago, probably 1985 or 1986, somewhere around there, I somehow managed to convince Carol to spend the day with me at an amusement park.

I'm not sure which one it was. It was a smaller park somewhere in New Jersey.

Possibly Kid's World in Long Branch.

She hemmed and hawed the whole way down, but she went regardless.

The park itself was nice enough, but nothing to write home about.

Maybe a dozen or so rides, water slides, carnival games, vending booths and two or three small snack bar type restaurants. It was one of those places where your admission fee covered the cost of the rides. Which was great for me, because I rode everything in the park twice, but Carol didn't want to go on anything.

She just sat on a bench and watched me run from one attraction to the next.

I felt bad but figured eventually she would get bored and decide to join me. But after about two hours, it was clear she had no intention of going on anything.

Not even the Merry-Go-Round.

We got some lunch and then walked around the park a little more before coming upon a ride called 'The Buccaneer".

For those that don't know, The Buccaneer is a big pirate ship shaped ride that rocks back and forth like a swing. The further back you sit on the ride, the higher you end up on the swings arc. From a spectators point of view, it looks like a pretty mundane ride, and it is. In terms of scares, it ranks slightly above the Hall of Mirrors.

I figured this was a perfect ride for Carol.

Not too fast and not too scary.

Plus, most of the people on line for the ride were children.

Surely Carol wouldn't be afraid of this.

After all, it's nothing more than a giant swing!

Of course Carol protested, but with a little nagging, I was able to coax her into it.

I even made sure we sat directly in the middle, so it would be even uneventful.

The thing to remember about the Buccaneer is that it starts out slow and gradually builds momentum. So for the first 2 or 3 minutes of the ride, you're barely moving.

But it didn't matter.

I was sitting next to Super Chicken.

The operator turned on the ride.

The Buccaneer inched forward slightly.

And Carol let out a shriek that would curl your hair.

She grabbed my arm and yelled "Tess! Make them stop!"

The ride hadn't moved more then 6 inches and she was already making a scene.

Even the 5 year olds thought she was crazy.

The Buccaneer continued to move forward and then slowly swing back.

"TTTTTTEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!! Get me off this ride right now!!", she bellowed.

Now, when I tell you that this thing was moving at a crawls pace, that is not an exaggeration. It had barely moved and Carol was in hysterics. I knew that there was no way she was going to be able to stay on for the duration of the ride.

I had to get her off the Buccaneer, but I wanted to preserve what little dignity we both had left.

I signaled to the ride operator but he either did not see me or chose to ignore me.

So I got up, and as the ride was continuing to lurch forward, walked over to him and got his attention. He yelled at me to "SIT BACK DOWN!", but I told him that he needed to stop the ride this very instant. I told him my sister was going to be sick and if he didn't let us off, he was going to regret it.

He rolled his eyes and must have thought we were insane,

but he stopped the ride and let us off.

Carol, who was now more or less in tears, thanked him,

but told me this was all my fault!

Needless to say that was the end of our amusement park adventure.

We drove home in silence and I was never allowed to bring up the subject of Amusement Parks again.

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