What did you do on your summer vacation? It’s a question some of us dread, some of us wait for the question and let the warm memories flow like a broken dam. What did I do? I wrote about some of the things we did this summer, but listen to this; summer is not over. Not yet. Last Friday we drove to Hershey. The plan was to pick up Amanda and Emma’s friends, Sarah and Hannah - both are sisters and the pairs graduated in their respective classes. After we pick them up we drive to Hershey. Easy enough. I rented a car and used points for the hotel. The hotel was in York. York is forty five minutes away from Hershey, but for two rooms it was a bargain and well worth the drive. But here's the news, Friday was one the worst driving experiences I encountered. As a habit, I listen to 1010 and get the traffic. The Throgs Neck Bridge was reduced to two lanes due to construction or was that the Whitestone? I wasn’t sure. I waited ten minutes for the traffic report again, but was distracted, so followed the signs , the recommendations in neon and flashes. We took the Throgs. We made it over fair easily. No major issues to report. The sun was out, a perfect view of the city to the West. I used the cash lane since my EZ PASS is linked to my corporate credit card. Not a problem. Then the sun went black and the traffic stopped on the Cross Bronx Expressway. Little devils with gnashing teeth beat down on us and taunted us from the hood of the car, tossing pitch forks and flames. It was hell. We eventually made it to New Jersey as if the anus of a state - was a foreign land - we kissed the trash laden ground as we set foot on the sacred rest stop. It took over an hour to get there, maybe three, but really - who is counting? I avoid looking at the clock when I don’t move. I was numb. After our break, we headed back out and while on the NJ Turnpike, I came up with an idea. It was getting late. Why don’t we go straight to the hotel? That led to the next parking lot which on this Friday evening rush hour traffic - slowly rolled and stopped, rolled for miles. The devils were taunting me again. Each exit was a painful imprint on the skull. My conscience was playing tricks with me, you are here and you need to be there and you are not going very far…are you? You can get out of the car and walk and you will get there faster. Was it an accident? No. Amanda and Sarah were playing music and seemed settled and bored. I questioned my logic, perhaps we should have drove to Hersey and spent an hour or two in the park and then off to York? What is done is done. Hello Trenton, only took four hours to see you. What was a four and a half hour trip to the hotel - took nine fucking (excuse me) hours which included the rest stop and a meal at Cracker Barrel.
The next morning we awoke after a good night sleep and arrived at Hershey Park. It is tree lined. The air is cooler and sweeter and fresh with a trace of the decaying hay from the fields. Most arrivals take the tour which is a ride as well as an educational opportunity on how chocolate is made in the sweetest place on earth. Years ago, you would be given a little Hershey bar, not these days, we were handed some lame ass chocolate covered beans in a tiny bag. Rip off! But I let that go, these days I need to be more grateful. Thank you, Hershey for the little shit chocolate covered beans. We checked through the entrance which is beautiful without being gaudy. You walk into what feels like a quaint European village, why look, it’s Dunkin Donuts. It’s sort of laid back in the park. Kids with pimples on their pale faces wear baggy uniforms and push little brooms, picking up white paper napkins and white plastic spoons. They are the walking dead dreading to be seen by their friends. I was there. I pushed shopping carts one summer at a super market and recall the embarrassment and the torture since I had to wear a tie in that scorching heat. My neck and back broke out in boils and I looked at them and picked up a napkin someone else dropped. I got it, the kid said. No son, I have this one. You do enough at this park. Well, not really, but I thought of it, as we passed slow ass country folk who walked as their underwear was loaded. Get out of the way. What's the rush? We can't help it, we are from New York. Come back to see us. What's with the characters? Hershey Bar and Reese's and 5th Avenue - what the fuck?
The water park was fun. Joe and I hit a ride and flew through a darkened tunnel and out into the light and back into the darkness only to crash face forward into the pool. I flew over Joe and nearly drowned my son who I pulled up from the cool deep. He looked shocked. Ready for another? I asked knowing what he’d say. Nah. He was toast for most of the day. While Ali and the rest hit the lazy river, I stayed at a table and watched the huge candy bar characters chase little kids and demand to get a picture with them. Music played and this corpulent woman who was the ring leader for the characters was dancing. I felt sorry for her. I really did. She was smiling though, maybe thinking she was on stage or the life of a party. I hit the comet which is the oldest roller coaster in the park. Front row. I screamed like a little girl. Scott and Tyler also joined us. Overall it was an enjoyable day for all of us. As night settled in - teenagers who were keeping their safe distances through the day were holding hands and acting like kids at a country fair would do; joking around and gawking at other teens. They were having fun. I watched them from a distance and saw one odd couple, the girl was tall and the boy quite short. They held hands and looked to be showing the world how opposites do attract.
Under the cool night air, we wished for rest. We were at the park for close to twelve hours. We had our fill. Good night Fifth Avenue Bar and all of your inebriated chocolate friends.
Thank you for reading this.