Every summer I return to the beloved homeland of my forefathers that lies just south of Monticello. For the record, that’s Monticello, Indiana. A Buckeye by birth and a Clemson Tiger by choice, I’m plagued with dominant Hoosier genes that sound the siren that lures me north to a gathering of the family faithful at the advent of every cantaloupe season. Hoosiers like to eat.
Because my mother was an Indiana native, the summers of my youth always included a stay at Indiana Beach, a “resort” of sorts located on beautiful Lake Shafer. It has everything a kid could want…amusement rides, cabins and camping, miniature golf, a game room, and yes, a beach. It’s a place where the aroma of green tomatoes still in the fields, of corn silk and pig manure collide with the heady smells of county fair-style food. Yum!
The summer after my father died, our enthusiasm for the beach waned. Although I was still overwhelmed by the grief of losing him, I nudged a group into making the trip because “it’s what Dad would have wanted.”
Adjusting to the beach without Dad was difficult, but as a tribute to him my sister and I decided to ride the Hoosier Hurricane, a roller-coaster he rode when he was 79 years old.
As we climbed the stairs to the platform, I remembered the first time I rode a rollercoaster was with Dad when I was eight. As we locked in and began our climb up the first big hill, he leaned nearer to me and whispered sweet reassuring words in my ear. “You’re going to be just fine,” he said. I was.
Copyright © 2015 Patra Taylor