Fear had pounced without warning back then. Powerless and trapped, it felt like a nightmare ... and I was afraid.
It's a vivid memory that stretches more than a few years back, a time when I was handed a long list of demands; an agenda that stretched from here to the nearest McD's. At the top were the words, "Ride a roller coaster."
Were the grandkids trying to frighten their grandparents, or what? Just the thought of this kind of rockin' and rollin' was more terrifying than being old enough to join AARP.
Now, I'll be the first to admit I'm a scaredy cat, even though I've braved a few reality TV episodes of "Running Wild with Bear Grylls" or even carried a stunned spider or two outside. But ride a roller coaster? I'd have to be crazy.
I vaguely remember the ground trembling beneath us as we stood in line for the ride. And I sort of remember the periodic squeals of terror that pierced the air; how in less than a heartbeat both grands reminded me that I was embarrassing them. After all, we were only waiting in line.
Looking back, I was most certainly in a daze. The realization that my husband and I were actually paying huge sums of money for this experience already had me reeling. But after a tortuous wait, it was our turn.
At last, our grandchildren could quit asking for the bazillionth time, "Are you afraid, Grandma?"
For at that moment, there was complete silence. A quick look their way told me why. Both were busy concentrating on their own white knuckles instead of mine.
Locked in, we were sentenced to the ride.
The roller coaster started to move. Clickety-clack ... clickety-clack ... our car edged its way up the hill. Anticipation and fear built with each turn of the wheels.