The first week of August always reminds me of a particularly fond memory. I cannot remember the exact date, but it is a special anniversary that always brings me a smile. That evening my father walked in the front door, after a long day at work, and yelled, “Let’s go to LeSourdsville Lake!” (An amusement park in Middletown, Ohio.) My father, never known for his spontaneity, caught us all off guard, plus it was late and the park was almost an hours drive away, but we all screamed., “Yes!
So by 6 PM we were at the park, the sun was slowly setting and we had three hours to pack in all of the fun possible before the park closed. The park was originally built in the 1920s and had evolved into this mix of mid century modem, plus this mishmash of old timey rides and curiosities. But it was known for one ride in particular, their wooden roller-coaster, the “World Famous” Comet.
When we got into the park, much to our surprise, it was practically empty, it was like we had the place to ourselves. We must have ridden every ride at least two times, of course the Comet was the first ride we hit, then we went off to do the others. Toward the end of the night my brother and I headed back to the Comet, it was dark by then and the park glowed with multi colored neon and incandescent lights. It seemed like magic.
After we finished our ride on the Comet the operator asked, “Do you want to ride again?” We said, “Sure!” He said, “One rule… You have to change seats.” Before we could finish saying yes, we were out of our seats and into new ones and off we went. When that ride finished, the operator asked, “Again? And you know the rules.” So jumped to new seats and rode again. This happened five more times, but now the operator didn’t say anything, he just gave us the look and we quickly moved to another seat and went for another thrill filled trip. Right before our eighth ride the operator said, “I’m sorry, but his will have to be your last ride. The park is closing.” We of course we were saddened, but we enjoyed the final climb up the hill the crashing speed going down and the ups and downs of every twist and turn, like it was out last one. It was a perfect end, to a perfect day. A day I will never forget.
Of course today is another anniversary for me. A year a ago today I found out I had cancer. And I am very lucky to be here to share my stories with you. Everyone on this page has been so supportive and showed great love and care for me.
There are some people that I really need to thank, because without them, I am not sure if I would have made it through this. I have to thank Yuko Takahashi and Peter Pearson for being there to listen to me when I was down and whined. I want to thank my son Tim Fish, for constantly worrying about me, but never showing it. Of course I have to thank Jeremiah Lee and Arthur Nicholls for being there whenever I needed them and then some. I owe extra special thanks to Peg Melnik my sister-in-law and brother Tim Fish for taking care of me after my surgery and helping me throughout this year.
A couple of weeks ago, I was at a party and a friend asked how I was doing. I said, “Great. I think this year has been a blessing.” Her eyes got really large and she looked at me like I was a bit crazy. I said, “It is not a blessing I would wish on you, but I have learned a lot. I have learned that I am loved. That I have great friends and family. I am lucky to be alive and being alive in this world is a lot better than the alternative. I am not saying it hasn’t had its ups and downs, but it has been good for me.” Finally I added, “It has been like a roller coaster, but I like roller coasters.” I wish I could have a picture of her face at that moment, because her eyes lit up and made me feel so filled with joy.
I hope this is one of my last entries here and I want to say thanks to everyone and, “Here’s to the Comet and may we all enjoy the roller-coaster of life.” Just remember to change seats every now and then.