Niagara Falls, Ontario. Whoopee! Boy there’s a lot going on in that town — a lot more than I remembered. Of course the last time your humble scribe visited said water attraction, he was with a group of smart-alec ninth graders from Sashabaw Junior High School — and that my friends was, as ancient Native Americans said, ‘Many moons ago.? (I believe that affair was a trip for students who attended Misters Irwin and Bower’s science classes.)
The field trip of the 1970s was different than our recent family vacation. What I remembered back when my hair actually grew over my ears was lots of water. The roaring sounds of 150,000 falling gallons of water per second. I remembered the mist soaking my hair and face. I didn’t remember seeing ‘totally nude,? ‘live girls? and ‘go-go? joints like the ones that were just down the strip from our hotel.
Back in the ninth grade I also missed all of the carnival/midway atmosphere of Clifton Hill. Ah, the humanity! Frankenstein’s Museum, Dracula’s Museum, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum, Marvel Comics Museum, cotton candy, popcorn, barkers, greasy food, arcades, loud moaning and groaning, screams, pipe organ music and 500 million people crammed into one city block.
How did I miss that?
Soon after our arrival in Niagara Falls, Ontairio things looked a little dicey, if not a little risque for a family outing. Road construction forced the best darned on-the-fly, map-reading navigator this side of the Detroit River to find an alternative ‘root? (as the Canadians say) to our hotel. Plan A involved taking the Queen’s highway to ‘historic? Lundy’s Lane. Bada-bing, bada-boom.
Navigator Don’s Plan B had dear Jen driving her family through a neighborhood north and east of our destination — the Carin Croft Best Western. As we meandered through the back streets, we saw two young, strappin? lads walking towards our mini-van, on the other side of the street. When they saw Jen positioned in the driver’s seat they started hooting. One thrust his pelvis forwards and back in a mock — well you get the idea.
Ah, adolescent males, they can be so . . .
. . . charming. I am just glad I missed that part of life. Seems to me I was unconscious from about 12 years old to about 32 — which would explain why I didn’t remember the Niagara Falls strip joints and Clifton Hill when I was 14. (It’s all starting to make sense, now.)
Upon our youthful Canadian welcoming to town, Jen and I exchanged glances and communicated without speaking. ‘Rut-ro Raggy. This could be a mistake.?
As fortune would have it, the worm turned (thank the man upstairs). The hotel was great. Shamus and Sean described the Carin Croft as, and I quote, ‘Paradise.?
They dug the hotel pool/play space. They loved riding the Maid of the Mist into the raging falls. They thrilled at looking down on the Niagara River as we rode an aero car over the water, 200 feet up. They enjoyed walking down by the rapids and through the tunnels ‘beneath? the falls (Sean even took a picture of a tunnel wall from 12-inches away). The Butterfly Garden was outstanding . . . and, in the boys? scope of life, the discount gift shops were . . . well, let’s just say this: They picked up an official rubber ‘Whoopee Cushion? for 99 Canadian cents.
Can things get any better for two red-blooded American boys, six and four years old (five and three when you consider the Canadian exchange rate) with money in their pockets? I think not.
They have been giggling and planting that thing under chair cushions ever since. Anything that can simulate and emit a ‘real Bronx cheer? (as described on said rubber device) has got real potential for everlasting adulation in the Kid Hall of Fame.
So, was it a good trip. You bet, and as long as that Whoopee Cushion holds out, the fun from Niagara will keep on flowing.
Comments for the very worldly and much traveled Rushman can be e-mailed to: dontrushmedon@charter.net