She Knew I Was There – By Scott Fennell
After hours of walking, jumping, climbing, sliding, riding and eating, she still had it in her to ride the one and only Rollo coaster at Idlewild Amusement Park. A 1938 classic wooden coaster. Sure…it isn’t the Demon Drop or Magic Mountain, but it was a big deal to her. We waited in line as her excitement turned to slight concern. She asked “Dad, can you hold me on this ride?” I pulled her close to me and assured her that I would be sitting right beside her and wouldn’t let anything happen. My brave little girl grinned and agreed to walk up the 5 steps that remained before the ride of her life would begin. As we sat down, she quickly grabbed a hold of the worn-out metal bar as if she believed that the devil himself would be chasing us during this 42 second ride. The ride began and our conversation ceased. It was on. We climbed the wooden mountain filled with so many different emotions. My anxiety grew for her unpredictable reaction. I felt that she wanted to bail on me, but deep down knew that she was a casualty of timing. There was no turning back. We reached the peak and her moment of truth had arrived. As the cart began to increase speed, she grabbed my hand and pulled it around her body to provide the comfort she needed at that very moment. I honestly could feel her little heart pounding through her chest as we twisted and turned through the wooden maze flying by our eyes. Her anxiety subsided as she began to hoot and holler out of pure excitement. I joined in right along with her until we came to a halt. It was a moment I will never forget and a moment that only me, my daughter and the 1938 wooden classic will always share. Just a roller coaster ride to most? Sure. But for me it was much more. It was validation that my little angel knew I would be there for her at any moment. These moments are quick reminders of why life is so worth living.