Getting ready for Dad-A-Palooza 2003

By Staff
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
This weekend will be the annual event that has become known as "Dad-a-Palooza." Greg and I are taking his 13-year-old son, Derek, to Six Flags Over Georgia on Saturday.
The whole day.
About 12 hours.
Twelve hours of hot weather and lots of crowds and concrete. There is no pool or room service or even a cabana boy to bring me a drink with an umbrella on top. There will be, however, some people who can airbrush our names on a T-shirt or give us a temporary tattoo.
I can't wait.
Greg and Derek started talking about the trip this week and I immediately put my foot down on some things.
"I am not riding anything scary," I said. "I am not riding the Runaway Mine Cars or that tram thing that goes across the park because that's just an accident waiting to happen."
They both rolled their eyes.
I reminded Derek of last year's debacle when I sat next to him on the Runaway Mine Cars, which is just a deceptive name for scary roller coaster. I squeezed his hand so hard I was afraid I had given him some sort of permanent injury.
"You won't even ride the Scream Machine?" Derek asked.
"No, she won't," Greg replied. "We will be on the Scream Machine and she will be where she was last year – riding in circles on the carousel."
"Don't knock the carousel," I snapped back. "Those horses go up and down and they can get pretty wild sometimes. Last year, me and that 3-year-old were both pretty scared at the start of the ride."
"She can ride those old-timey cars that go around on a track," Greg said.
"They may go too fast for her," Derek chimed in. "I think she was complaining about the bumper cars last year."
"Can you blame me," I asked. "The last thing I wanted to do was bring you home with some sort of bumper-car head injury. Those teenagers were entirely too rough and there's just no place for roughhousing at an amusement park."
If this weekend is like last year, I will spend a lot of time sitting on benches and waving as the two of them go plummeting down one metal hill or another. I will be the official glasses holder, sunscreen dispenser and drink monitor.
I will make sure no one gets dehydrated and everyone can find the bathroom.
I will order all the Dippin' Dots and corndogs and inspect them to make sure they meet our high health and safety standards.
What I will not do is ride anything scary. You never know when one of those carousel horses is going to break loose and cause an accident.

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