Yesterday I took my kids to an amusement park in Oklahoma City called Frontier City. This park is decorated with an “Oklahoma” theme through and through. Some dates back to the “old days” of adventure–such as a reference to a “hold up” at the end of a ride called Silver Bullet or the decoration theme throughout where it looks like an old west town (even some of the restaurants are named to support this theme). Then there’s the ride appropriately named “Tornado” to celebrate what we’re known for. And it doesn’t end there. There is also the “cowboy” theme that goes on with rides like: Dodge ‘Em (bumper cars), Rodeo Round-Up and Steel Lasso. Truly, it’s a fun place to go.
One other thing that makes it so fun to go is the staff members. I blogged a few months about about Silver Dollar City just outside of Branson and mentioned how the staff are dressed in costumes, some of which are costumes that reflect themes for the rides they’re operating. At Frontier City, you get a little of that, but not as much. The ride operators are dressed in a uniform shirt and nice shorts or slacks. But every once in a while you’ll see an old west “Cowboy” walking around, such as I did when we first walked into the park.
Now, to back up a bit I don’t live that close to OKC, it’s a bit of a drive. But yesterday was the last weekday it’d be open until next year so it was my final chance to take my boys (I don’t do weekends as those are usually busy days). So not wanting to waste one precious moment, I got them up and out the door, only to arrive 45 minutes before the park opened! This was my fault as I misread the hours on their site. Anyway, we waited for a while, then they let us in, but only into the very front of the park. To keep us all from wandering around, there was a thick rope blocking off the main walkway.
Naturally, my son picked THAT moment to inform me he had to go to the bathroom. Always a mom-of-the-year candidate, I start looking for one only to deduce there isn’t one on my side of the rope. Of course. With a silent prayer my son could hold it (this is the child who denies he has to go until it’s nearly too late), I dig into my pocket to remove my phone and check the time.
Just as I look up, this handsome fellow dressed as a rugged 1800s cowboy walks up and asks my kids if they’re here to have fun.
He grins. “Where are you guys from?”
I rattle off the name of my no-name town, then further explain its proximity to a larger city that I’m fairly certain he’s heard of.
He nods. “Oh, I graduated high school not far from there. Say, would you boys like to be famous?”
“No,” Eddie says meekly, hiding behind the pillar.
“What abut you?” the cowboy asks my youngest.
With a jump and a grin, Henry excitedly says, “Yeah!”
“Great! Come with me! You guys will be part of our Morning Show.”
With a shrug and what I hope to be an encouraging smile to my oldest, I give them a little nudge forward.
“Oh, you, too, Mom,” the guy said. “Say what’s your last name?”
“Gordon,” I choked as instantly my mind filled with TONS of uncomfortable possibilities of what might be in store for this “Morning Show”. None of which sounded very exciting for me, but hey, they’re little boys and the day was about having fun with them so I force myself to walk forward.
“Great. You guys wait there a minute then I’ll bring you all out in front. You boys will have fun, I promise and we’ll embarrass your mom.”
Grand. Just grand. Hey, I write romance novels that even people at my church read, I can’t embarrass that easily, can I?
Yeah, I now know that I can.
So this fellow goes up and starts off with telling everyone that he’s the sherif of this city, but the mayor has run off and a new one is needed! Quick! So in good ‘ole Frontier City fashion, it’s time to vote. Right now, on the spot. Then he gestures for the three of us to go join him up front so he can explain the voting procedures. Apparently there’s some law saying “He who had the best pig squeal is mayor”. However, in Oklahoma the only place most people like pigs is on their plate, so…his way of deciding on a new mayor was to have the three candidates (me and my children) do a T-Rex calling.
He then goes onto demonstrate the proper form and technique to such a thing:
First one must jump forward into a squat with bent knees, elbows pulled back and hands perched forward because T-Rexes have small arms. Then you bare your teeth, move your head around and squeal!
Once he was done with his demonstration. He looked at the three of us and said, “Mom, you’re first.”
Between trying not to laugh at the absurdity of it all and die from mortification. I jumped forward with my elbows back and half-squealed, half-giggled as the crowed chuckled, howled and giggled at my awful attempt.
Henry went next. Animated child that he is, he put his entire heart into the ridiculous act before looking to his brother to do his part. Though Eddie doesn’t like being up in public nor to be made to act silly, he surprised me by not cowering behind me and giving it a try.
But the torture didn’t end there, it was then time to vote by applause.
Like you see on shows where the host holds his hand over one of the contestant’s heads and the crowd votes. That’s what we did. I, of course, was out after the first round (not unsurprising at all), and after a few hand movements, my youngest Henry was awarded the position of Honorary Mayor of Frontier City for the day and I got asked by more than one park patron to call a T-Rex again.
Truly, I am a magnet for the crazy and sometimes embarrassing, however, I live by the theory that it’s things like this that keep you young and help build the memories (oh, and that make great content for books should I ever write a contemporary).