In the spring of 2000, I took my old New Balance sneakers to school so that I could wear those shoes instead of my newer Adidas for sixth period in the machine shop. I put my Adidas in my locker for one period of one school day. I never saw those sneakers again. I went to the mall the next night and bought a new pair of solid-white KSwiss sneakers and a pair if gray New Balance sneakers. Oh, but not before earlier that day when the vice principal caught me wearing my old New Balance sneakers that were white with blue and orange. The dress code allowed black and white shoes only. I was sentenced to morning detention.
In the following September, our church youth group went on a trip to Paramount’s King’s Island in Cincinnati, Ohio. On our way to Cincinnati, a tire blew on the bus that gave us quite a scare and put us a little behind schedule. When we arrived at Paramount’s King’s Island, Ray allowed me and my friend Amber to hang out together. Most of the day was fun and relaxing, because Amber and I stood in the long lines for the roller coasters and just talked about things. Ray joined me and Amber later that afternoon, and we rode the “Top Gun” roller coaster. Okay, now even the planes in the movie rolled over and did loops. On the roller coaster, you’re just suspended in the air while you go up, down, and make sharp turns. I don’t want to seem biased, or anything, but I think that the “T2” roller coaster at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville was better.
Aunt Rita would get Six Flags passes for me and Melissa, sometimes, and she or Aunt Becky would take us to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in the summers. Aunt Becky had taken me and Melissa to Paramount’s King’s Island at an earlier time, and I was telling Ray about some of the rides while we were standing in line for the “Outer Limits” roller coaster. Ray asked me about the “Outer Limits” roller coaster, because he had never ridden it, and because it was hidden indoors. I told him that the ride was a series of loops that formed a sphere as I made a motion with my right hand like I was rolling a ball of yarn.
After Ray, Amber, and I got off at the end of the “Outer Limits” roller coaster, Ray shook his head, and said, “Wow!”
Apparently, I did a poor job of explaining to Ray what to expect. It sounded like he thought I was describing the choo-choo train at the Louisville Zoo, or something. I could have sworn that I warned him to hold his head against the head-rest of his seat at the beginning of the ride, because the “Outer Limits” roller coaster goes from zero-to-fifty-miles-per-hour in less than three seconds.
At about seven O’clock in the evening, our group exited the park and walked back to the church bus and van to depart for home. I had ridden the church bus to Paramount’s King’s Island, so I was one of the ones chosen to ride home in the van with my good-friend Jamie and her husband at the time, Andy. Andy was piloting the van.
As we began loading the van, we started smelling something like someone had passed gas. Fingers were pointing. Accusations were made. The smell lingered.
A girl named Whitney poked her head into the van and immediately cringed as she said, “Eeewww, it smells in here!”
That’s when Jamie ordered, “Okay, everyone off the van.”
When we unloaded the van, we noticed a pile of whodunit on the ground. We started checking our shoes. Everyone was clean except me, Mr. White-KSwiss. I took my shoes off and put them into a plastic bag. Jamie used up most of her hand sanitizer in an attempt to freshen up the van, but it only made it smell like pooey flowers.
On the way home, one of my favorite songs “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” started to play on the radio. Andy said he’d give five dollars to whoever could guess the name of the band that performed that song before the song was over. Andy always played that game and won, and I finally had the chance to win, but my memory froze in his favor. When the song was over Andy told us that the song was performed by Deep Blue Something.
I yelled, “Ahhh! I knew it was a color!”
Everyone broke out into laughter.
And as far as my white KSwiss sneakers go, Maw Maw washed them for me the following week, but I soon had to stop wearing those sneakers when they began to rub blisters under my ankles.