“No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me Yeah,
I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be.”
John Mellencamp – Small Town
I try to write about the good times, because I know the drill – Laugh and the world laughs with you; Weep and you weep alone. Sometimes, though, the good times are also the sad times. Yesterday was one of those days.
I made another trip to New York, but this time it wasn’t for a show, a concert, a party, or bar hopping. I attended my cousin Janey’s wake. She was a few years younger than me, and passed after a long illness. So, we were able to take some comfort in the fact that she was no longer suffering, but even though we were, therefore, able to look at the glass as half full, it was really completely empty, drained to the last drop.
I can remember playing with her and her siblings when I was a kid. Their family had kids the same age as the kids in my family. Carol Ann was my age. Janey and her twin brother Jimmy were the same age as Brother X. Pat was an extra, as we didn’t have anyone his age, but he was close enough to all of us, and their baby Rita was the same age as my baby brother, Kevin. It was always a treat to visit them, not only because we all had playmates there, but they also lived in the exotic land of Long Island. Hicksville was probably only about 15 miles from our house in South Ozone Park, but, in those days, it was like going to the Magic Kingdom. Unlike our row house, they had a house that wasn’t touching any of their neighbor’s houses. We had a backyard that was just barely big enough to bury my Howdy Doody doll when he became beyond repair. They had a great big yard that went all the way around their house.
Over the years our two families drifted apart geographically. I think Carol Ann started it by moving to California. Maybe it was when some of us went into the service. Anyway, when the kids were all grown, their parents, my Uncle Leon and Aunt Rita, moved to Florida. I visited them once when I went to visit my Dad who moved near them after my Mom died. Now, the only time I see them all is when a family member passes away. The last time I saw them was when Uncle Leon died, and, like yesterday, those moments are always bitter sweet. The sadness of the passing is always tempered by the joy of seeing them.
This time was no different. In between viewings I went to a restaurant with my cousins, their spouses and grown children. We told stories, laughed, and joked just like old times. Somehow, we got on the topic of amusement parks. Then we talked about the hit TV show, Game of Thrones, where the midget seemed to be everyone’s favorite character. Then, naturally, we wondered if there were any big roller coasters that would allow little people to ride.
What do Peter Dinklage or Danny DeVito do when they go to Amusement Parks? They can’t be happy riding in tea cups all day. A Google search showed that there is a dwarf amusement park in China, but it’s not about thrilling rides for small adults. Instead, all the employees are dwarves. The only roller coaster I could find that was engineered to safely accommodate short adults is a ride called Wicked in Lagoon Park in Utah.
So, we (jokingly) planned the first Amusement Park built specifically for short adults and their children. We would have Randy Newman there on opening day, performing his big hit, Short People. The jokes started flying and soon we were all in tears. Perfect, since it was time to go back to the funeral parlor.
My condolences to The Long Family, and I hope I don’t see you again for a long, long time, but I’m really looking forward to getting together with you again.
Peace & Love, and all of the above,