Rides are engrained in my mind forever. I’m not sure what that’s about. Maybe it’s because the ride itself represents a meaningful memory. Maybe because rides can lead to the unknown and that’s exciting to me. Often times they are quiet rides…with time to think, stir up the mind or simply shut it off. Rides are driven, ridden and rode with. Up, down and in circles. They are anticipated, whims, practiced, exciting, and music filled. There are rides that you’ll never want to take again. Those are challenging, long, sad, sudden and serious rides.
For me, rides start out on flying purple saucers at Penny Whistle Park and graduate to thrilling drops on the rickety, wooden Judge Roy Scream. Rides are saddled on a hard ridden, tired horse who sees the barn and makes a run for it; cutting through trees, he scares the six year old rider off the horse for years to come. The extinct, but I remember them so fondly, “have fun girls and be sure to be home before it’s dark,” neighborhood bike rides. Rides with my grandmother in her yellow Seville when I’d politely suggest she choose a lane…only to hear her quip that the hood ornament is lined up with the dashes. There were covert, heads popped through the sunroof, night rides with mom to spy on the faltering boyfriend; and Sunday afternoon downhearted rides, when Dad’s weekend was a wrap. The best were the treasured, highly anticipated, summer camp bus rides made complete sitting next to my faithful friend Cathy.
There are travel rides. The New York City, how did we make it out alive in that cab ride? Fog thick, this is really scary, exactly like an Alfred Hitchcock movie…and how ironic…we’re on our way to Dillon Beach ride. Flying high above Maui in a helicopter over volcanos, past waterfalls and ocean cliffs was a jaw dropping ride. Texas ranch four wheeling rides. European train and Tube rides. Summer is finally here, and I’m back on the horse at the farm rides. And my favorite, I am way above cloud nine, hitched, first class to Costa Rica plane ride.
The sudden ride that led to New Mexico offered mountain magical rides. Rides on top of snowboards, dropping into the trees to cut fresh tracks across new snow. Winding mountain road rides, late night party rides and cruising around…and around…and around…the plaza rides. We’ll never forget sitting in the car, taking in the twinkling blanket over a sleepy Santa Fe, with music on repeat, while we waited and watched for the sun to rise ride. There were moonlit, headlights optional rides and quiet rolling down the hill in neutral so they don’t hear us rides. The sad and final ride, the one that left that one-of-a-kind town in the rear view mirror, for a place that would be a fantastic, four year ride.
Arizona was complete with across the border rides and first time shack ride home rides. Epic, Fleetwood Mac fueled California weekend rides; and up and down the coast, I never want to leave here rides. The four year ride went way too fast, followed by the, “there’s no free ride so you better get yourself a job” ride. Real estate market up, down and up again are wild rides. And finally, I start to stop, smell the roses and figure out what’s really important while I ride.
Rides will do that. Everything comes into sharp focus once we experience a bumpy, long drawn out or fast and furious ride. We learn from each one. For me, I try my best to concentrate on the good rides. Rides when I’m driving and they’re laughing; giddy goofy, lost in that innocent, carefree cocoon that all children should feel kind of rides. I’m thankful when business is on a good ride; and hope that the times when things are slow or tricky are very short rides. Just a few minutes’ ride will lead to the people I love most and a plane ride takes me to the others. Familiar, Phoenix mountains welcome me home on the descending ride; and soon enough, I’m back to the place where raising three young children is a guaranteed, crazy-good ride. Here’s to hoping that we all can take a moment and just enjoy the ride.