Do you take life by the horns? Do you use the opportunities presented to you to enjoy unusual places and experiences that you might not otherwise? Are you outgoing and fearless or quiet and reserved?
It’s interesting that personalities differ and it definitely makes the world a better place. I watch kids skateboarding and biking on my street and say to my husband, “They’re going kill themselves!”
When my siblings and I were growing up I was the “good” one. Not to say that my siblings weren’t good but the three of them caused my parents headaches by doing things I never would have thought of. I was always worried that my mom and dad would be disappointed if I did something they didn’t like. Since I was interested in reading and singing it wasn’t much of a problem for me. I did, however, try smoking with my cousins behind the railroad depot in our little rural town. Bad choice. Everyone knew my dad and before I got home someone had called him to report me. He took me to my room, sat me on the bed and looked at me. I think I was twelve at the time. The sadness in my father’s eyes broke my heart when he said, “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to trust you again.” I was broken-hearted and very surprised when the next day he allowed me to go spend a week with those very same cousins. Believe me, I was a changed person. Every time I got offered a cigarette or a copy of True Confessions (my mother’s rule was that they were trash and I was never allowed to read them) I said no. My cousins thought I was nuts but I came home with a clean heart.
Fast-forward to 1967. I married a real daredevil. At first I shook every time we tried something new but soon realized I loved the thrill of it all. We had a nice dirt bike and spent our weekends riding the power line. It was in the boonies and ended at a place called Rattlesnake Hill (yes there had been some spotted there) and then we’d start back down. My husband took the bumps and humps at breakneck speed as we flew over the hills and I learned to hang on tight and be ready to stand when we hit a bad spot.
We bought a 750 Yamaha motorcycle and took road trips. Usually we ran 70 – 80 mph, but 70 was the speed limit back then. We always wore helmets but I’m not so sure they would have helped much. Next we got into snowmobiles. I loved driving the snowmobile and we went often with friends on day trips. If there was a hill I’d jump it and if we were on the flats I’d gun it.
I loved carnival rides and my favorites were roller coasters. The bigger, the faster and the higher made me scream with delight. I went on every roller coaster I could. Even my niece begged me to take her on the roller coaster because her mother wouldn’t. At Disney World MGM my favorite ride was The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. If you’ve never been on it, you should. It’s the scariest fall ride I’ve ever experienced. If you’d like to read about it here’s a link. MGM Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
We got a boat and it had a little speed. We’d skip across the water of the Ouachita River in Arkansas holding on for dear life. We broke down a few times and have some hair-raising stories to tell. (We didn’t drink in case you’re wondering.) We bought another boat in Florida on a channel to a large lake. We spent many happy hours fishing and cruising. There were alligators and water moccasins in the lake. Since we were from Michigan where the water is clear and there were no dangerous creatures to fear, we weren’t worried about swimming in this lake. We’d roil up the water by running the boat around and around in an area, then jump in to swim. One time the DNR came by to see if we needed help. We said, “No we’re just swimming.” The officer looked at us like we were out of our minds.
We had a lot of fun on the Gulf of Mexico when we got a bigger boat but all we did was get beached on an island once. The tide went out before we realized it. Lucky for us there were others to help us push it back into deep waters. The best part was watching the dolphins race alongside us as we motored back to the launch site with a beautiful sunrise making the day picture-perfect.
We got into dune buggies and I loved them. The Sleeping Bear Dunes (in MI) were one-half mile from our summer cabin. There were lineups of dune buggies early in the morning until the park closed in the evening. We had all kinds of fun on the dunes. On Saturday nights were drag races on the flats. There was a huge hill to climb and there was always a line of people waiting for their turn to try to get to the top. We equipped our buggy with nitrous oxide and when you kicked it in it was like we were flying. Well, we flew a little too fast a couple of times. The dunes shift constantly and we really should have taken a practice run but we roared on up, only to find the flat top where we usually landed had shifted and there was no place to stop. We turned end over end three times, breaking our Tie Rod in the mishap. We always wore 5-point harnesses and the best helmets you could buy and, lucky for us, we were protected. We extricated ourselves (we were hanging upside down) and assessed the damage. What we thought was gas leaking on us was the ice water from our cooler tied to the back. We had to have the buggy towed and fixed that time.
There was a spot to go mud bogging and we usually headed there too. I hadn’t tried it before so hubby and I changed places. I started from quite a distance away, put my foot on the gas pedal and we flew right into the big puddle. And sank. The water was up to our necks. Looking back it was really funny, but at the time we hastened to remove our seatbelts and get out. As luck would have it a man with a four-wheel drive was on the other side and he pulled us out. Hubby was irritated that I hadn’t made it through the puddle and said he’d show me how it was done. We went back a little further, he gunned the gas, water flew up and over us and we sank! I laughed so much I cried. The four-wheel drive was still on the other side and pulled us out again.
Other things I’ve done are to swim in shark infested waters, jellyfish infested waters, and stingray infested waters. I’ve fallen off a few horses and lived to tell about it and climbed a few tall water towers. I’ve swung from a rope across a barn from one haymow to the other. And of course I’ve done the rope swing out into the water. You’d think I have a death wish or something but actually I’m pretty mild-mannered and still a readaholic who is very much a homebody.
Those days are long past and if I’m to be truthful, they’re probably the reason I’ve had two back surgeries. I think I was experiencing my youth a little later in life because my parents were so strict and I was always afraid I’d get in trouble. Case in point: My father wouldn’t let us climb trees and I couldn’t have a bicycle until I was ten years old because he was afraid I’d kill myself on it. I’m glad I love to write and have no desire for that type of thrill any longer. What those days did give me were lots of things to write about and every so often I open my box of memories and fish something out to put in a story.
How about you? Are/were you a daredevil? Have you used any of those experiences in your stories? I’d love to hear about it!
Picture Credits: Motocross bike – FreeDigitalPhotos.net
All other pictures courtesy of Morguefile.com
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