The missing part of spring

posted by Jeff | Friday, April 29, 2011, 11:02 PM | comments: 0

We're finally going to have some nice weather this weekend. We've had freakishly cold weather for three weeks straight, averaging about 10 below the normals. It has really sucked. Last Friday and Saturday were solid, but then we reverted back to the crap.

With the nicer weather comes the inevitable feeling that something is missing though. That missing thing, of course, is the opening of Cedar Point. It typically started with a pre-season drive around the park (two years ago I had to photograph my car on the midway for giggles), the Red Cross mini-golf fundraiser, Buffalo Wild Wings with the Walsh family and CP pals, a media event in some years, the actual opening day and those fantastic weekday trips before schools let out, when you owned the park.

Just thinking about it, the sense memories are so vivid. The colors of fresh paint, the new construction smell around the new attraction at the media day, cool breezes off the lake, the first smell of fries, the sound of Raptor and Millennium Force, first whiff of the Candle Shoppe mixed with fresh blacktop sealant... all things that made you feel like you were home after another shitty Midwest winter.

And of course, there was the social satisfaction of it all. That weekend would often be one of the first times I'd see Tim and his family, I'd see Walt if we didn't manage to make the same off-season visits, John, the GM, would offer his warm greeting to another season and give a run down of some of the less obvious things going on, friends I probably wouldn't even know were it not for the park would come out of hiding.

What makes it so hard is that this spring ritual was with me for about a decade. Through all of the crazy turmoil around romantic partners and jobs, the May Cedar Point routine was a constant. Last year, I was so rocked by having a baby that I didn't really have time to think about the change. This year, life is almost in the neighborhood of being some kind of "normal," and it has given me more time to think about how much I miss this particular aspect of spring.

Don't get me wrong, there's no way in hell I'd want to be living there again, but I wouldn't mind if I could spend just a week enjoying that routine again. As much as I've learned to embrace change, I wouldn't mind if it was padded with a little more familiar comfort.


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