The next morning, our first day in what some call “Las Vegas without the casinos,” Shannon said there was no way she could walk anywhere, much less on hilly terrain. “Maybe I’ll just stay here while you guys go,” she said.
“No, we’ll figure out something,” I said.
I called Silver Dollar City and found out that they have wheelchairs available, but no guarantee we would get one. I got on the phone to medical supply places and found one to rent, delivered to our front door.
About a half hour before we were to leave, I took Benjamin and his cousin to the local playground. Quickly bored with the equipment, they wrestled, pushing each other against the surrounding iron fence. Less than a minute after they moved a few feet away from it, Benjamin fell backward and his head clanged against the fence.
Crying ensued, as did our departure from the playground. Just inside the condo’s front door, Shannon’s chariot — the rented wheelchair — welcomed us.
I was paying for the privilege to push my wife around all day.
Running on less sleep than usual and the added excitement of having his cousin around, Benjamin started a trend of getting into trouble for not listening. As long as we were out of the condo and doing something, he counterbalanced that with reactions of child-like wonder and awe at the things we saw.
Much different from last year, we had to wait in line for anything the kids wanted to ride. Dad, not as thrilled by rides as the rest of us, usually hung back with Shannon. One nice thing about the waiting at Silver Dollar City? There was almost always something the boys could climb around on to keep busy.
Exactly the same as last year, Benjamin declared that he hated Fire in the Hole and never wanted to ride it again. What could possibly scare a six-year-old in the pitch black while riding what appeared to be a coal car in what appeared to be a burning mine shaft?
We skipped a show that promised at least an hour wait in line, but happened upon the 4-o’clock start of “Frosty,” playing on a stage in an open-air theater. Benjamin and his cousin went down front to enjoy with the other little ones, rapt the entire time. (Notice the little girl on the far left checking out the snowflakes’ consistency.)
The boys enjoyed more than one visit to the multi-level ball house, where they passed up shooting balls through air cannons in favor of climbing as high as they could for the mega slide. The log flume ride sat alone in the cold background, waiting for next summer’s splashdowns.
“But we’re both six!” Benjamin’s cousin declared in frustration as he climbed into the swings ride next to my mom. He wanted to sit next to Benjamin, who stood barely tall enough to go without an adult. You probably can’t see them in the picture below, but they’re in it somewhere.