Just in time for Halloween, an American horror story. Better make that a Mahoning Valley chilling chapter or maybe a getaway gone horrifically awry.
Sheesh, as if I needed one more reason to hate Halloween. Oops, only a few sentences in and I digress already!
It all started out innocently enough, like the whimsy of those young couples heading to Camp Crystal Lake for a stroll around the beautiful grounds in a "Friday the 13th" flick. And we know how that always ends, now don't we?
Yep, there we were, the four of us (Kerry, Kyle, my niece Kelly and I), up and out the door, bright and early on a crisp fall Saturday morning, heading to Cedar Point amusement park for one last thrill ride session of the season.
NOTE: The park is open for weekends from mid-September through Halloween annually. It's totally cool and very creepy but never have I witnessed it scarier than I did last weekend.
And so, back to the plot.
We shuffled along due northwest, happily unaware of the terrifying fate awaiting us at the second happiest place on earth. Oh sure, the thunderclouds forming before us were a clear omen in retrospect, but, like so many clueless, soon-to-be victims in B-movie slasher films, we plowed gleefully forward, excited to begin our summer-extending respite for the day.
Little did we know that summertime had met an abrupt and sticky end somewhere between Twinsburg and the final exit to Sandusky, my friends.
Alas, the sky grew darker.
As we made our way to the main gates with so many dozens of other unsuspecting souls that fateful morning, a chill befell us all - clear to the core. Yeah, yeah, the temperature had dropped about 15-degrees within the hour, so that may have had something to do with it.
But I speak of that sense of certain doom which was in the offing - I could feel it in my bones.
Yikes and gulp.
The skies opened up - yet I continued to smile. Despite the cold rain soaking through to my capillaries, despite the Lake Erie wind whipping my hair against my face like so many tiny knives slitting my skin, despite the terrifying site of every human rattling around the park headed zombie-like for the very line we were attempting to join at the base of the Gatekeeper roller coaster, I smiled.
I smiled as the we wound agonizingly slowly through the evil maze of barriers in the nearly-snow-worthy cold. I smiled as I lost sensation in my limbs - "At least it won't hurt as much when Michael Myers hacks them off" I though half-eerily, half-cheerfully.
I smiled right up to the point at which, after 98 tortuous minutes, we were finally about to board the Gatekeeper, only to hear the Angel of Death, er, I mean the ride operator announce that it was being shut down for technical review.
NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I yelled silently in distress as my family began to salivate like the walkers in "The Walking Dead" when they spy fresh meat. They turned on me like the Tilt-a-Whirl, people, no pattern, no warning - and with enough zeal to make you upchuck your soft pretzel. Suddenly, this very bad idea was mine and mine alone, folks.
I won't even recount the crime scene that ensues when 8,400 families all try to order a hamburger simultaneously in a mercilessly overcrowded restaurant. Oh, the humanity. Nary a napkin was spared.
The corresponding ride home was another bloodcurdling scene. Kerry with his face contorted into the same expression made famous by the mask worn by the killer in "Scream" - the kids drifting in and out of consciousness as they battled back from hypothermia and me trying in vain to get the blood circulating in my Raynaud Syndrome-stricken fingers and toes let's just say the deafening silence in the car was more frightening than the Top Thrill Dragster at its fastest point.
And, as I studied Kyle and Kelly's faces as they slept, acknowledging that soon enough they'll both be off with families of their own, it hit me: we'd just made a memory to be laughed about and cherished for the rest of our lives.
I mean, it's not everyday you play 20 questions (more like 110 but when you're huddled together beneath a frozen umbrella you quickly lose count) with your son and goddaughter.
It's not every day you introduce two teenagers James Dean and Led Zeppelin.
It's not everyday your kids school you on the musical stylings of rapper Hoodie Allen and the acting chops of "Supernatural" TV star Jensen Ackles.
It's not everyday you take the time to give that kind of up-close personal attention to one another.
Yep, turns out that Grimm's fairy tale of a Saturday had a happy ending, after all.
Except for Kerry. He's still torqued. He kept on frowning and BAM! His face is stuck that way.
Oh well, tried to warn him. Jump in the car, peeps, if you hurry, you can still make it for the last day of Halloweekends!
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist, lover of Cedar Point in all weather and silver-lining finder extraordinaire. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.