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Smoothing out roller coaster feelings
Who thought it was a good idea to sit here in the front row of a roller coaster? I asked myself, as my stomach felt like a thousand butterflies fighting to get out.
I had a feeling that this was going to happen when I was standing in line. When I was young, I had heard about the “Leap-The-Dips” roller coaster, built in 1902 in Altoona, Pennsylvania. I had always wanted to experience that kind of fun, but now I was an adult, and standing in line for a newer and bigger roller coaster in Ohio. Seeing how high the structure was, my resolve started to weaken. In a front-row seat, I looked ahead at the tracks climbing skyward, reaching almost to the puffy clouds overhead. Suddenly I wished I were back at the ice cream stand we had just passed, instead of on the ride.
I consoled myself that the Leap-The-Dips had run for many years without any major complications, but before I could ruminate any further, the car had filled and we started to roll slowly, clank … clank … clack … clack, and my heart was echoing with that rhythm. Beat … beat … beat … beat … inching our way up above the midway, the entire amusement park appearing below. Just when I wondered if the car would make the summit, it finally made it over and rocketed down the other side, going faster and faster. My ears filled with happy screams of those on board, and I had a funny, queasy feeling in my stomach, not knowing whether to laugh, cry, or scream. With a wrenching jerk we bottomed out and started up the next hill, heading toward another adventurous descent.
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About the author
Patrick M. Collins is from McCaysville, Georgia.