Roller Coaster
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Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

Several years ago I spent the day at Valley Fair.  Much of that day saw me face my own fear of heights on the
various roller coasters.   Although I haven’t been back to Valley Fair recently I have ridden a roller coaster-just
today.  You see some days are like a roller coaster ride and today was just one of those days.

The morning started out peacefully enough-parallel this with the slow ride to the top that begins every roller
coaster ride.   I had some breakfast and enjoyed  the anticipation of a day-off from work and the chance to get some
work done at home.  As I crested the top of the hill I could see what was ahead of me; a morning of digging post
holes to replace the rotted posts on my old hay-shed.   I was thrilled at my progress as I dug one hole after the
other-I was definitely enjoying this ride.  That’s when things took a turn for the worse, no the coaster didn’t come
off it’s tracks but the mounting bracket for the digger broke.  I had already dug several holes so I felt lucky I had
made this much progress.   I loaded the digger onto a trailer for travel to a repair shop at a later date and looked
forward to my next job (i.e. the next hill).

I began fencing soon after dinner.   I recently rented about 40 additional acres for my cattle and thought I better get
it fenced.   I fenced like the wind and felt the heady thrill of being a fencing machine, almost the same thrill you
would get from several loop the loops.  I was just congratulating myself on my efforts when my pick-up stopped
running.  (this would be were the coaster came off the tracks)    My fuel gauge doesn’t work very well and I was
now out of gas.   I had already walked about 2 miles through tough conditions with a medium load and was a little
tired.   I now could look forward to another 3/4 mile return journey home to get gas on foot.   I can’t think of
anything similar to this on a roller coaster ride so I won’t even try.

I arrived home and decided to tackle another job.  I was soon mowing (and feeling another impending hill) at the
speed of light-the only thing missing was the blur of surroundings racing past me.   That’s when the coaster not
only came off the tracks but the whole thing started on fire.   I was very near finished when I lost all steering.   I
could see trees and blades of grass rushing by as I grappled with a steering wheel that had no intention of bending
to my will.   I should have taken a turn but instead was headed for the nastiest little ditch at my own little
amusement park.   My knuckles clenched white as I head down the final death drop on the roller coaster ride that
had started out as just a regular day at home.  Fortunately I finally came to my senses and pulled back on the
hydrostatic lever just short of impending doom or at least a very nasty scratch.  The ride was over-it couldn’t have
ended any sooner.

I spoke with Lisa about this later and she laughed just like the ticket-taker had the first time I tried a roller coaster.
She faked sympathy for me (again just like the ticket taker) and I realized there would be no refund from this
thrill-ride called life.  Now as I sit upstairs typing, listening to my bug-zapper fry mosquitoes and wax
philosophically it’s apparent to me that it was actually a pretty fine day and I really did get my money’s worth.