My sister has always been the little daredevil ~ the one who would try anything. In fact, truth be told my brother and sister and I would make her the butt of our pranks, just because she was so easy to tease. Carrie Sue just has this way about her; in fact, we nicknamed her ‘free spirit’. Sometimes I worry because she is too trusting, so at night I ask God to protect her.
A few years ago my parents took us on vacation to the Boardwalk Amusement Park. We were all having a pretty good time until Carrie spotted the roller coaster. Was I surprised when she insisted we go on the ‘Mighty Mouse’? Not in the least. Did anyone want to take her? No…way.
Carrie begged my oldest brother Bill, who just ignored her as he walked toward the Arcades. My sister Christine gave her an elbow in her back (I should have told mom) and pushed her away towards me. There I was, looking in those big green eyes, while she mouthed the words “Please, Johnny take me.”
Man, this was just not my idea of a good time. I don’t even like scary rides. I took one look at that metal monster, and my stomach turned inside out. Right about that time, a link of about five cars whipped past me, and all I could hear was the blood curdling cries of what I considered to be ‘a bunch of idiots’!
“Carrie, you’re not big enough” I said, pointing to the height regulation chart. Wouldn’t you know, Carrie stood against it and she made it by an inch.
By then she was begging mom and dad, and they’re looking at me like, “C’mon John, do this for your sister.”
I really wanted to tell them it freaked me out, but I couldn’t. My 14yr old manhood was on the line. “Well, what are we waiting for, let’s get the tickets,” I told her.
That’s all it took, and within minutes we were standing in line, Carrie squealing and jumping up and down every time the cars raced past. I was just grateful I hadn’t eaten yet.
The empty row of cars came rolling up to us and it was our turn to board. Just my luck we got stuck in front. The seats were designed so I sat in the back, and Carrie sat in front of me, between my legs. Soon we were belted in, and the clickity-clack of the metal tracks signaled we were on our way.
I turned back to see mom and dad waving and smiling at us, and I’m faking my smile as we waved back. My head gave a snap as the cars began their slow, creeping ascent. I looked down below and for the first time noticed that the coaster was built over the water.
“Sit still Carrie” I warned as my sister began squirming in the seat. She and I are clutching the bar in front of us; the only barrier between ourselves and… Oh God I don’t want to do this…
We began edging closer and closer to the top, click clack, click clack. Sweat began forming between my fingers and the safety bar. I quickly dried them on my shirt and then held on for my life.
The car peaked and then began its forward thrust, and suddenly my little 50 lb. sister lunged up and bolted out from between my legs! “Carrie, no” I screamed!
As her tiny four foot frame began to fly out from the car, I reached and was able to grab her by the knees and bring her back against me. Holding on for dear life through the twists and turns, all I could think was Dear God make this thing stop. The four minute ordeal felt like four hours.
After the ride ended, it was all I could do to get my rubber legs to walk out the exit, and over to my anxious parents who had witnessed the whole thing.
Manhood or not, I could not stop the trembling that overtook my body as I slumped onto the nearby bench.
But Carrie, true to form, was oblivious to it all! Here I was, still trying to get my breath back, and wouldn’t you know I could overhear her giggling, “Please daddy, can we go again?”
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