Final teenager

Andrew turned 13 on May 26, but we officially celebrated on May 31 and June 1, with three of his friends from church.  It’s really nice to be in a church where he can have friends his age.

Scott had a double-header Thursday night.  It was the final game(s) of the season.  The Promise Keepers beat Victor Baptist, but lost to Tri-Lakes.  Those games went from 6:30-8:30 PM, and Jerry’s mom brought him to the ball field during the second game.  I went home after that, but Scott took Andrew and Jerry to Wal-Mart and then to Zach’s game, which had started at 8:30 PM.  Zach’s folks were out of town, so he was staying with Reece, so Scott picked up both of them after Zach’s game and brought the gang home.

This meant that the party started at 10:30 PM, but that was okay.  When everyone has full schedules and you want to celebrate your young man’s birthday, you do what it takes.  We began with cheesecake (Kathy Tedder’s cheatingly EASY recipe), which everyone liked.  Andrew blew out his candles exceedingly quickly.  This was followed by a treasure hunt, which those guys man-handled in a mere SEVEN minutes!!  Clearly I blew it on that one.  I purposely made the clues easy because Andrew typically doesn’t have much patience to figure out the tougher ones AND because since they were starting after 11:00 PM, I didn’t ant it to go too terribly long.  I clearly erred on the side of too easy.

They made a lot of noise in Andrew’s room until Scott called it quits at about 12:30 AM.  I slept, and I think the boys eventually slept.

Next morning they ate whatever plus donut holes for breakfast, and then I took them to Silver Dollar City.  We got out there around 10:00 AM and left at 4:00 PM.  They rode roller coasters like crazy and ate a lot of food.   I wandered the park, visited with craftsmen, and read a book, checking in with the buys a couple of times.

There are some significant changes at The City this season.

There is the matter of guest passes.  In the past, when you ordered a a season pass or six, you got a fistful of one-day guest passes, various ones being good for certain date ranges.  Although through the years SDC has gradually reduced the number of guest passes issued with each season pass, we have really enjoyed being able to bless people who come to visit us and friends who live around here but who don’t have season passes with a fun day at The City.  The most recent change has been that in the past few years, there are whole blocks of time (like six weeks in the summer) for which NO guest passes are available.  I guess we had really gotten spoiled by SDC’s generosity, because we think that stinks.  But this year took the cake.  Whereas we used to be able to give away guest passes, now the game has been rigged so that each guest pass can ONLY be used for admission in conjunction with one of our family’s season passes!  This is inconvenient and limiting, to say the least.  When I called to clarify the new policy, I was told that they had to go to this system because some people were selling the guest passes.  How very gauche!  As the lady told me, a few bad apples have spoiled things for everyone.

Then there is the matter of the woodcarvers, who are now located in the Christmas shop and vice versa.  Very sad.  It’s a financial thing.  The woodcarvers sell some really expensive stuff, which, given the economy, I guess, just wasn’t moving.  They were in a high traffic location and the powers that be wanted to put something there was cost less and was likely to sell better.  I felt sad about that.  As I type, I can look up at my high shelf and see the souvenir carved wooden shoe that I bought on one of my first trips to SDC in the early 1970s.  Note that I bought it in the wood carver’s shop, which was located exactly where it ought to be, at the end of the swinging bridge.

The other change was at the taffy shop.  Now, everyone knows that the taffy shop is supposed to be located just a skoshe from the train station, because after you get off the train, you go straight in there for a free piece of taffy.  Never mind that taffy is now $8.99/lb and that its shop was many years ago relocated to a spot up on the square.  No, worse than all that is that they are no longer giving free samples!  This is an atrocity!!! An abomination!!!  I wasn’t going to buy any taffy that day, because I still have quite a bit left from the stash I bought at Christmas.  I just wanted a little bit of something sweet  – to wash down my pork rind, ya’ know, so I sauntered into the taffy shop to see which flavor they were sampling.  And I wandered around as nonchalantly as possible, trying discreetly to figure out where the sample bucket was, and IT WAS NOT.  And then I didn’t want to look like an idiot and ASK where the free samples were, so I didn’t, but I confess that I was again, rather sad.

However, despite my various sadnesses in relation to my several losses, I still think Silver Dollar City is one of the most wonderful places on earth, and to think that we live only 17 minutes away is just an amazing blessing from God.  The weather was perfect (only low 70s), Andrew had a blast with his friends, and then as we walked (beating the tram) to Lot 3, it began to lightly rain.  Perfect timing.  We got all the guys where they needed to be, and Andrew was – and is – 13.

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